Canadian Champ A Bit O'Gold Returns in Vigil

(from Woodbine report)
Canadian champion A Bit O'Gold didn't find the softest spot for his 4-year-old debut in Saturday's $165,300 Vigil Stakes (Can-III) at seven furlongs.

But trainer Catherine Day Phillips has every reason to believe that A Bit O'Gold will be ready after breezing five furlongs in 1:00 3/5ths April 22 over a fast Woodbine main track.

But Day Phillips also knew what to expect when the entries were made for the Vigil.

"The Vigil is what we were aiming for," said the Toronto native, of the plans for her Ontario-bred, who finished second in last year's Queen's Plate before going on to take the second and third jewels (Prince of Wales, Breeders') in the Triple Crown Series. "Hopefully, he has his running shoes on for that one. It's a race we figured would come up tough."

The main track feature drew some serious Thoroughbred talent, including last year's Vigil champion, Mobil, a multiple-stakes winner who took home top older male honors at the 2004 Sovereigns, and another Sovereign victor, Judiths Wild Rush, who copped top 2-year-old colt honors in 2003. Speedster Chris's Bad Boy, a holder of two Woodbine track records, makes A Bit O'Gold's 2005 debut even tougher.

In his two years at the races, the son of Gold Fever has shown he's adept at varying distances on both turf and dirt, winning from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.

Still, the distance might not be the best fit for A Bit O'Gold, according to Day Phillips.

"I'm not sure going seven-eighths against the best sprinters on the ground is his game," she said. "He's handled seven furlongs well in the past, but that was a three-year-old against other Canadian-bred three-year-olds. He might need that race to set him up for the other races.

"This is a stepping stone towards some nice races in the summertime."

A Bit O'Gold carries a record of seven wins and three seconds in 11 career starts with earnings of $1,290,819.

$165,300 Vigil Handicap (Can-III), 4 & up, 7 furlongs
1/I Thee Wed/Jim McAleney/David Bell
2/Norfolk Knight/Jill Scharfstein/Hugo Dittfach
3/Judiths Wild Rush/Slade Callaghan/Reade Baker
4/Give Faith/Rui Pimentel /Malcolm Pierce
5/Mobil/Todd Kabel/Mike Keogh
6/Chris's Bad Boy/Patrick Husbands/Vito Armata
7/Royal Place/Gerry Olguin/Lorne Richards
8/A Bit O'Gold/Jono Jones/Catherine Day Phillips