Dual Canadian classic winner Caren led at every point of call and posted her first graded win by the slimmest margin in the $150,000 Ontario Colleen (Can-IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies Sept. 24 at Woodbine.
Video: Ontario Colleen S. (G3T)
Video: Durham Cup S. (G3)
Owner Robert Marzilli enjoyed a third straight win with Caren, a daughter of Society's Chairman who won by a nose from Shake Down Baby, who desperately tried to reel her in but just missed.
Caren came in with classic victories in the Wonder Where and Bison City Stakes in her two previous starts for trainer Michael De Paulo and kept the momentum going Saturday for her eighth win from 13 career starts.
With Jesse Campbell at the reins, Caren set the pace in the one-turn mile over as Thundering Sky and Calling Rhy Rhy stalked and grade II winner and 3-5 favorite Ancient Secret raced at the back of the field
Caren led around the turn as Thundering Sky inched closer but the winner dug in. With less than a furlong to run, Shake Down Baby unleashed strong move up the rail, but Caren held on.Thundering Sky was third, and Ancient Secret finished seventh in the field of nine.
Bred in Ontario by James A. Everatt, Janeane Everatt, and J. Arika Everatt-Meeuse, Caren ($11.60) is out of the Vilzak mare Jo Zak. She was third in the Woodbine Oaks before taking the next two Canadian filly classics. The Ontario Colleen marks her seventh stakes win.
In the Durham Cup, Are You Kidding Me ($3) stalked pacesetter Decision Day from third, about 2 1/2 lengths behind the front-runner, closed in angling four wide on the far turn, and led by 1 1/2 lengths in early stretch. He drew clear under a hand ride from Alan Garcia for a breakthrough after finishing third in the race in both 2014 and 2015. The victory marked his second win from six starts this year.
The 6-year-old son of Run Away and Hide —Sweet Awakening, by Street Cry, covered 1 1/8 miles on the all-weather track in 1:49.10. Freitag, fourth early in the five-horse field, smartly quickened to take second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Up With the Birds, who rallied from last to be third.
Are You Kidding Me, Canada's champion older male of 2015, was bred in Kentucky by John Bates, Ron Kirk, and Michael Riordan and partners and races for his breeders under trainer Roger Attfield. He has an 8-5-6 career line from 30 starts.
"He's a charming horse to train," said Attfield. "I've had him since day one. He's had a few little problems along the way, but I can train him any way I want to train him. He can work in :58 or in 1:03. He's just a lovely horse and I really love him."