Enstone showed she must be considered a top force among 3-year-old Canadian turf fillies after a decisive victory in the $125,000 Ontario Colleen Stakes (G3T) Aug. 27 at Woodbine. The Mark Casse trainee turned the tables on Grizzel, who had bested her in the Selene Stakes (G3) on the all-weather track in May.
Ridden by Patrick Husbands for owner East West Stables, the daughter of Tiznow had a pocket-trip behind the DARRS-owned R Naja, though she was steadied in the early stages. As Jesse Campbell set the pace with the Michael Stidham-trained daughter of Exchange Rate, the Christophe Clement-trained Yellow Agate kept a menacing position outside her flank, as they traveled in fractions of :23.59, :47.11, and 1:11.18 for six furlongs on the firm turf course.
Yellow Agate, winner of the 2016 Frizette Stakes (G1), was trying turf for the first time and made a strong bid into the stretch under jockey Luis Contreras as R Naja began to wither. She responded when confronted by Valentine Wish but could not hold off the run of the Malcolm Pierce-trained Mythical Mission, who was flying down the stretch. Mythical Mission's glory was short-lived as space opened up on the rail for Enstone, who coasted to the lead and proved much the best despite her early trouble. She completed the one-mile in a final time of 1:34.28.
"Every time she comes out, she gives you 110%," Husbands said. "I was always telling myself one of these days I could get (Enstone) to sit behind horses and get speed to run at and today was the day.
"Today, I had a nice pace in front of me and she did what she does in the morning—running them down—and when I asked her, she just took off."
Mythical Mission was unable to sustain her stretch run and was passed by Grizzel, who split horses to secure the place. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite, the Michael Doyle-trained daughter of Kodiac, had a difficult trip throughout the race under jockey David Moran.
Blocked for room at the top of the stretch, she checked near the three-sixteenths pole, before finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Exiting a fifth-place finish in the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (G1T), she finished one length clear of longshot Reverse in third. Reverse, a daughter of Colonel John, who was moving up off an allowance win after being claimed for $20,000 by owner Steve Duffield for trainer Ricky Griffith, finished three-quarters of a length in front of Mythical Mission.
Enstone paid $12.80, $5.90, and $3.70 across the board.
"She ran well at 2, she's run hard at 3. We'll see, she's probably going to get a rest now," Casse said. "She runs on the synthetic, she runs on the turf, she can do anything."
Yellow Agate finished fifth, followed by the George Weaver-trained Super Marina. Casse's other entrant in the race, Victory to Victory, who was exiting an eighth-place run in the Lake George Stakes (G3T) behind Proctor's Ledge, was off slow and finished seventh. Valentine Wish and R Naja completed the order of finish.
Bred by William Graham in Ontario, Enstone is out of the Storm Cat mare La Suena, who is a half sister to grade 1 winner Forest Secrets. Enstone entered Sunday's race off a runner-up effort to Inflexibility in the Wonder Where Stakes. She now has four wins and five seconds from 12 starts with earnings of $406,303.