Invader Shaconage Wins Woodbine's Colleen

Woodbine might be unfamiliar turf for Shaconage and jockey Joe Johnson, but the pair certainly looked right at home on the Toronto oval's E.P. Taylor Turf Course in winning Sunday's $153,875 Ontario Colleen Stakes.

Fashioning a strong late charge, the daughter of El Prado stormed to the front of the 13-horse field of 3-year-old fillies, drawing off to win by a comfortable 2 1/4-lengths with Johnson in the irons.

Trainer Mitch Shirota was understandably pleased with the final result, even if he did lose sight of his pupil for a few moments.

"I lost her all of the way until the last sixteenth ... I didn't know it was her," said Shirota, of the grey.

It was the longshot pair of Wawota and Swift of Flight who vied for the early lead, taking the field through an opening quarter-mile in :22.08. The latter was a head in front at the half-mile mark, timed in :44.59, while Shaconage was sitting ninth.

A poor start put Shaconage at a big disadvantage early on in the one-mile event, but Johnson patiently wove his way between rivals, rousing his filly into contention around the final turn.

Johnson chose an outside path to take aim at the leaders, eventually striking front with Shaconage and widening their advantage, before crossing the wire in a strong 1:33.76, over a turf course rated as "firm."

"When she broke, she didn't break sharply and I got shuffled back," said Johnson, aboard Shaconage for the first time. "At the half-mile, we started making a run and she finished really strong. I angled her out and had no traffic problems at all."

It was the second consecutive score for the lifetime winner of three races from seven starts, coming off an impressive four-length triumph at Ellis Park in Kentucky on August 7.

She paid $33.20, $12.40 and $9.60 across the board, combining with the favorite Hour of Justice ($3.80, $3.20) for a $136.80 exacta. My Pal Lana ($4.70) completed a $1,241.30 trifecta.

Too Late Now, winner of this year's $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks, finished tenth in her first turf race.

(Chart, Equibase)