A Bit O'Gold Dominates On Dominion Day

(from Woodbine report)
A Bit O'Gold, Canada's top 3-year-old in 2004, registered a decisive 6 1/2-length victory in the $215,800 Dominion Day Stakes (Can-III) Friday at Woodbine.

The Catherine Day Phillips-trainee ran the 1 1/4 miles in 2:07.55 with Jono Jones aboard. Archrival Niigon was second, while Just in Case Jimmy was third in the field of six.

The Dominion Day was the first time A Bit O'Gold and Niigon have faced one another since the A Bit O'Gold defeated Niigon in last year's Prince of Wales, spoiling Niigon's Triple Crown bid at Fort Erie. Niigon had edged A Bit O'Gold in the 2004 Queen's Plate.

Day Phillips, who owns a share of the son of Gold Fever as part of The Two Bit Racing Stable, said the race set up perfectly for A Bit O'Gold, who stalked pacesetters Sky Diamond and Niigon through slow fractions of :24 4/5, :49 3/5 and 1:14 4/5.

"A Bit O'Gold was sitting in a beautiful stalking position," she said. "Jono had big loops in his lines all the way down the backside."

Day Phillips says the chestnut, who had finished third in the Vigil Stakes and fourth in the Eclipse Stakes earlier this year, took a major move forward in training in his second-to-last workout, which was clocked in :58 3/5, handily, on June 18.

"He worked tremendously coming into this race. His second last breeze – I've never seen him work as well. It was really awesome."

Jones has ridden A Bit O'Gold, who now boasts earnings of $1,148,373 (Canadian) in each of his 13 starts.

"I was close enough that I pretty much had them at any time," he said. "I was very happy with how the race set up. I knew somebody would have to come running to catch us today. Nobody did."

The victory was A Bit O'Gold's seventh overall and his sixth stakes triumph.

A Bit O'Gold returned $4.60, $2.90, $2.10 as the 6-5 favorite. Niigon stayed on for second after setting the pace along the inside, paying $3.00 and $2.30 and completing a $9.80 exacta. Just In Case Jimmy, last early, rallied for third position for a $3.10 payoff.

In true Canadian fashion, Day Phillips dismissed any thoughts the star colt may venture south of the border in upcoming starts.

"We're Canadian, he's Canadian and he's owned by Canadians. It's most likely we'll stay here. There are grass options here. We'll probably look at that."

(Chart, Equibase)