Finally Here Prevails in Duchess Stakes

(from Woodbine report)
Finally Here, ridden by Patrick Husbands, outfought favored Winter Garden and jockey Chantal Sutherland down the stretch to win the $177,250 Duchess Stakes (Can-III) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Woodbine.

At the finish of the seven-furlong event, Finally Here held a half-length advantage over Winter Garden, with Miss Crissy a troubled third, in 1:24.15. However, after a stewards inquiry, Winter Garden was disqualified and placed third for interfering with Miss Crissy in mid-stretch, squeezing her rival as she tried to come through on the rail.

Trained by Kentucky's Tom Amoss for Pop-A-Top LLC, the well-traveled Finally Here, a daughter of Yarrow Brae, was making her Canadian and stakes debut in the Duchess, after winning three in a row at three different tracks in the United States' Ellis Park, Pimlico and Charlestown.

Husbands has teamed with Amoss before, just missing with Williams News in the 2000 Canadian International (Can-I).

"The race really unfolded as I expected," Husbands said. "I was hoping that somebody would pressure (jockey) Chantal (Sutherland). I had to make sure that when I came to her, I can blow by her because I knew her filly's a real game filly. Her horse really dug in back down the lane but I just got there in time."

Winter Garden was dogged from the outset by Eclipse Bay on the inside and Littlemiss Sparkle, another invader, on the outside, with the first quarter in a rapid 22.24, the half in 45.02 seconds. After putting those two away, though, the Bob Tiller-trained 6-5 favorite was hooked by Finally Here turning for home, as Miss Crissy and jockey Steve Bahen angled to the rail for their charge.

From there, Finally Here and Winter Garden battled it out neck-and-neck to the wire, as Miss Crissy was forced to check, then swung outside in the last jumps to finish third, just a half-length further back.

Finally Here picked up a purse of $100,350 for her fourth win in five career starts, all this season. As the fifth choice in the eight-horse field, she paid $15.20, $7.00 and $4.50, combining with Miss Crissy ($10.50, $4.90) for a $181 exacta. Winter Garden ($2.70) completed a $547.80 trifecta.

(Chart, Equibase)