In one of the best performances of the early Woodbine racing season, Eye of the Sphynx, making her Toronto oval debut, and jockey Todd Kabel combined for a masterful effort in capturing the $163,200 Fury Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The Sam-Son Farm-owned bay started strong and finished even stronger in the seven-furlong event timed in 1:23 1/5 on a muddy track.The lightly-raced daughter of Smart Strike also stamped herself as a major contender for the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks June 13 at Woodbine with the decisive win. She gave Sam-Son their sixth Fury score. Eye of the Sphynx, who won her first career start at Keeneland on April 22, wasted little time in getting the jump on her six rivals. Breaking from post five, Kabel and his Ontario-bred charge seized the lead, cutting the opening quarter-mile in a reserved :23.02. After a half-mile in :46.24, last year's champion rider in Canada kept Eye of the Sphynx on the task at hand, repelling a serious challenge from fellow Oaks hopeful Silver Bird at the head of the stretch to win by 3 ¼-lengths."Silver Bird came next to me and put some pressure on, but once my horse switched leads, she just kicked on," Kabel said. "She ran a very strong race." Trainer Mark Frostad was impressed with the 3-year-old's performance. "She hasn't raced much, but she ran a huge race in Keeneland," said Frostad, of the three-length victory, also at seven furlongs. "Todd gave her a great ride today. The main goal is to get to the Oaks."
Sam-Son has won the Oaks six times, most recently with the Dancethruthedawn in 2001. Eye of the Sphynx now has $123,340 in career earnings after taking home the winner's purse of $97,920. She paid $5.00, $3.20 and $2.30, combining with Silver Bird ($3.20, $2.40) for a $9.10 exacta. My Vintage Port ($2.80), last year's top juvenile filly in Canada, finished third. (Chart, Equibase)