Strait From Texas paid $43.50, $13.70 and $10.00 across the board, combining with Chopinina ($5.60, $4.80) for a $188.70 (7-1) exacta. Byzantine ($9.50 to show) completed a trifecta returning a healthy $1,349.10.(Chart, Equibase)
Strait From Texas, at odds of 20-1, chased down pacesetter Chopinina in the closing strides to capture the featured $296,700 Nassau Stakes (Can-II) Sunday at Woodbine. With jockey Richard Dos Ramos showing the way, Strait from Texas prevailed by a half-length over Chopinina, last year's Sovereign Award winner who was making her seasonal bow after a seven-month vacation. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile turf contest was 1:42.92 over a course rated as good.Three lengths further back in third came another longshot, 28-1 Byzantine, as the two favorites Hot Talent, at 8-5 and Madame Cerito, at 9-5, finished a disappointing seventh and sixth, respectively.Trainer Paul Buttigieg couldn't have picked a better time to win his first race of the seasons. He was 0 for 33, with three seconds and seven thirds."I know she has a nice little kick to her," said Dos Ramos. "Paul basically told me, 'Don't keep her close to the pace and she'll come home. She won't embarrass you, Rick.' She just loved it"Mulrainy took an early lead in the Nassau, taking the field through fractions of 23.17 and 46.08 for the half, but heading into the far turn gave it up to Chopinina and One for Rose, as that pair hooked up in a duel which lasted until mid-stretch. As Chopinina began to inch away, Dos Ramos had Strait From Texas flying down the middle to get up for the victory, her third win in six starts this year at Tampa Bay Downs and most recently Churchill Downs. It was also her third career stakes win. She took the Ontario Colleen last August at Woodbine and the Hillsborough at Tampa Bay in March.For the victory, Strait From Texas earned $166,920 for owner James Michael, pushing her career bankroll to $438,917.