Day Phillips First Female Trainer to Win Breeders' Stakes

(from Woodbine report)
The Two Bit Racing Stable's A Bit O'Gold and trainer Catherine Day Phillips made history at Woodbine on Sunday in winning the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes, the third leg in the Canadian Triple Crown for 3-year-olds.

A Bit O'Gold drove to a 1 3/4-length win over Burst of Fire, making Day Phillips the first woman trainer to win the coveted Breeders' in its 114 runnings.

With a confident Jono Jones aboard, A Bit O'Gold, the Prince of Wales winner and Queen's Plate runner-up made his turf debut in the 1 1/2-mile event for Canadian breds a successful one. He stalked the moderate pace of Burst of Fire, one of four Sam-Son Farm hopefuls in the race, and unleashed his familiar stretch kick to overtake Burst of Fire in deep stretch.

The gelded chestnut son of Gold Fever inched away to victory in 2:27.15 over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, the second fastest Breeders' clocking since the Triple Crown was inaugurated in 1959. The record of 2:26 2/5 seconds is held by 1995 winner, Charlie's Dewan.

"My horse was travelling good. I knew we always had lots of time to get him (Burst of Fire)," said Jones, about A Bit O'Gold. " He handled it (the turf) very good. He's just a trier. Anything you put him against, he'll try his best to beat him. Who knows how good he is?"

Burst of Fire established the lead through fractions of 1:14.16 for six furlongs, with the mile reached in 1:38.79.

A Bit O'Gold caused as much excitement for his connections prior to the race than during it. While being saddled in the paddock, he almost ripped his left hind shoe off. He then had to be re-shod by the paddock blacksmith before coming out for the post parade.

"In the paddock, when we started to saddle him, he stepped on his left hind shoe and pulled it, sprung it, as they call it," explained Day Phillips. "It was basically falling off. So we had to repair it. I think I handled it worse than he did.

"Down the backside, I saw he was relaxing. When he picked him up, he just gave his best and gave it all. He's always given his best down the lane. He's just a fabulous horse and we're all just really lucky to be part of him."

A Bit O'Gold was the 2-1 second choice, despite having been favored in his last three starts.

He is the first horse since Runaway Groom in 1982 to have won the Prince of Wales and Breeders' Stakes, after losing the Queen's Plate, which he did by three-quarters of a length to Niigon, June 27. A Bit O'Gold then turned the tables in the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, July 18, decisioning the Plate winner by a head.

Niigon opted to contest the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes Sunday at Saratoga instead of the Breeders', where he finished a decent fourth to Purge but was elevated to third when Eddington was disqualified for interference.

With the winner's share of $300,000, A Bit O'Gold became racing's newest millionaire, pushing his career bankroll to $1,163,199, not bad for a $60,000 yearling purchase two years ago.

Sam-Son Farm's Silver Ticket, who went postward as the 3-2 favorite with Todd Kabel aboard, finished third.

A Bit O'Gold paid $6.90, $4.50 and $2.70 across the board, combining with Burst of Fire ($14.30, $5.20) for a $81.20 (4-3) exacta. Silver Ticket ($2.30) completed the $170.60 trifecta.

(Chart, Equibase)