Displaying a tremendous kick coming off the far turn, favored A Bit O'Gold and jockey Jono Jones drew away from seven rivals in the $166,500 Plate Trial Stakes Sunday at Woodbine.With a dominating 3 3/4-length win, the chestnut gelded son of Gold Fever stamps himself as the likely favorite for the $1 million Queen's Plate for Canadian-foaled 3-year-olds on June 27.Fifth for most of the 1 1/8-mile race, A Bit O'Gold charged up to pacesetter Little Bentley and Niigon going around the far turn, took command turning for home, then drove resolutely to the wire, getting the distance in 1:51.74.Niigon, forced to check slightly as he was making his move, came through on the inside as the trio straightened into the stretch and bettered the 2-1 second choice Little Bentley for the place award by 1 3/4 lengths.Twenty-two Trial winners have gone on to win the Queen's Plate. The last to do so was Alydeed in 1992."He was spot on for this race," said Jones. "He did everything perfect. He relaxed then he picked it up and finished as we wanted him." Trained by Catherine Day Phillips for The Two Bit Racing Stable, A Bit O'Gold, a $60,000 2002 local yearling purchase, won three of four starts last year, including the rich Coronation Futurity, on his way to banking $230,029.He opened 2004 with a solid second-place finish to Twisted Wit in the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes, May 8, run over a sloppy track. He got off a step slow but rallied to finish only 2 ½ lengths behind.
"He's a lovely horse and he's been training really well," said Day Phillips. "We were happy he raced well (in his opener) and we're just happy to be here. He'll go right into the Plate from here."Twisted Wit, the 3-1 third choice in the Trial, had an eventful trip. Reluctant at first to load, the gelded son of Distorted Humor reared up when the gate sprung, was rushed up to challenge on the rail, then gave way to finish last.A Bit O'Gold earned $99,900 for the victory, pushing his career bankroll to $363,199.Sent postward the 9-5 favurite, A Bit O'Gold paid $5.60, $4.30 and $2.10, combining with Niigon ($6.70, $4.00) for a $44.20 exacta. Little Bentley ($2.40) completed a trifecta of $99.40.(Chart, Equibase)