Elusive Thought Proves Tough Target in Fury

(from track report)
Elusive Thought wasted little time in getting the jump on her five rivals in winning Sunday's $162,750 Fury Stakes for 3-year-old Canadian-bred fillies at Woodbine.

Breaking from the outside post, rider Jim McAleney and his charge seized the lead, cutting the opening quarter-mile in a reserved :23.33.

After a half-mile in :46.71, 'Jimmy Mac' kept Elusive Thought on the task at hand, eventually fending off Mountain Dawn to win by one-length in a final time of 1:24.10, over a main track rated as "fast."

"I had a lot of confidence in the filly (Elusive Thought), but I thought she had to prove herself as the best today," said McAleney, who captured his first stakes score on the campaign. "We were loose on the lead today and she was running with her ears pricked. It was just a question of how far she could go."

Trainer Reade Baker, who teamed with McAleney to win last year's edition of the Fury with Gonetofarr, was impressed with the 3-year-old's performance. But the longtime conditioner won't make a decision regarding a run in the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks until Elusive Thought's next start, the Selene Stakes, on May 19 at the Toronto oval.

"She'd have to pass the test in the Selene," offered Baker, of the lifetime winner of two from four starts. "I don't know about the Oaks, but she's a pretty nice filly."

McAleney, coming off a sensational 2002 at Woodbine, is hoping for a similar showing come the Selene, a 1 /16-mile tilt.

"The next one (Selene) is only a step further," said the veteran pilot, closing in on 1,000 career wins at Woodbine. "She handled this one well and I have a lot of confidence that she will be able to do it."

The victory gives Elusive Thought her second straight win in 2003 and third top-three finish. The filly now has $155,631 in career earnings after taking home the winner's purse of $97,650.

She paid $11.90, $8.20 and $3.90 across the board, combining with Mountain Dawn ($6.90, $3.10) for a $76.20 exacta. Buffalo Jump ($2.30) held on for third. The 6-1-5 trifecta paid $213.50.

(Chart, Equibase)