A Bit O'Gold Shines in Chinese Cultural Centre

(from Woodbine report)
A Bit O'Gold, last year's champion 3-year-old male in Canada, carried top weight of 124 pounds to victory in Sunday's $345,600 Chinese Cultural Centre Stakes (Can-II) on the Woodbine turf.

A Bit O'Gold, who won his only previous grass test in last year's Breeders' Stakes, was handled by regular rider Jono Jones in the 1 3/8-mile turf feature.

The battle for all the spoils came down to a pair of fan favorites, Mobil, who finished second in last year's CCC, and A Bit O'Gold, fresh off a dominating win in the Dominion Day Stakes (Can-III) on July 1.

Mobil battled gamely just to the outside, but could not track down A Bit O'Gold, who crossed the wire a two-length winner in a time of 2:15.94 over firm turf.

Jones tucked the handsome son of Gold Fever in behind the pacesetting duo of Niigon, last year's Queen's Plate champion, and Burst of Fire, one of three Sam-Son Farm entrants in the race.

After early splits of :25.25 and :49.87, Jones kept A Bit O'Gold in prime stalking position, before asking the four-year-old for his best run down the lane.

"We were going to save as much ground as we could because we had the most weight," said Jones. "We did that and when I wheeled him out, he did the rest."

It was the Two Bit Racing Stable star's ninth win from 15 career starts and his second victory from four tries in 2005.

After tussling with the early leaders, Last Answer, a stablemate of Mobil's, and also a Mike Keogh trainee, stayed on for third, at odds of 72-1.

For conditioner Catherine Day Phillips, it was yet another golden performance from her versatile Ontario-bred, who finished second to Niigon in the 2004 Queen's Plate before capturing the final two jewels (Prince of Wales, Breeders') of the Canadian Triple Crown Series.

"He's just a fabulous horse, he runs 110 per cent every single time out," said Day Phillips, of last year's Plate Trial, Prince of Wales, Breeders' and Ontario Derby Stakes winner. "He's absolutely awesome. We're just all lucky to be a part of him."

A Bit O'Gold collected $205,920 for the win to raise his career earnings to $1,654,293.

He paid $7, $5.20, $3.40 and combined with Mobil ($8.10, $6.60) for a $54.00 exacta. Last Answer ($18.40), rounded out the $1,717.50 trifecta.

(Chart, Equibase)