Sam-Son Farm's homebred Southern Ring, back home at Woodbine after a winter at Tampa Bay Downs, dug in to win the $125,000 Whimsical Stakes (G3) April 23 and spoiled the season debut of 2016 Canadian Horse of the Year Caren.
Southern Ring set the pace from the start in the six-furlong stakes on the Woodbine synthetic main track, but was under pressure from longshot Skylander Girl through quarter-mile fractions of :23.17 and :45.77.
The 5-year-old Speightstown mare kicked away in the stretch, but had to hold off River Maid late to win by a length under jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva in 1:09.70. River Maid was 5 3/4 lengths back early in sixth, but closed well to pick up second, a nose in front of Euroboss.
Robert Marzilli's Caren appeared to be in prime striking position early, as she stalked the leaders in third on the backstretch and in the turn. But the eight-time stakes winner never seriously threatened in the stretch and came in fifth, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner.
It was the second grade 3 score at Woodbine for the Malcolm Pierce-trained Southern Ring, following her victory in the Oct. 16 Ontario Fashion Stakes, also at Woodbine. In four starts on the Woodbine synthetic, she has three wins and two seconds from five starts.
Bred in Ontario, out of the Seeking the Gold mare Seeking the Ring, Southern Ring now has $327,799 in earnings with a 5-1-2 record from 10 starts.