Dueling to the wire in a battle of wills, Dixie Moon proved she had the stamina to eclipse her competition, edging ahead in a photo finish to win the June 9 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser at Woodbine.
Winless in two starts this year, Dixie Moon was looking for retribution. Since closing out her freshman season with a victory in the Dec. 3 Ontario Lassie Stakes, the chestnut daughter of Curlin had yet to revisit the winner's circle. She came into the 1 1/8-mile test for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies ready to prove the home-court advantage belonged to her.
Breaking cleanly from post 4 under jockey Eurico da Silva, Dixie Moon claimed her stalking spot just outside the rail, tracking the pace a length behind frontrunner Fairy Hill, who set fractions of :25.16 and :50.27 through the half-mile.
Shut out at the break and pushed to the back of the pack, Canadian champion 2-year-filly Wonder Gadot, the 2-5 favorite, found her stride three wide on the outside as they approached the far turn. Pressing the pace, Dixie Moon took the lead and moved to the inside rail at the top of the lane.
Digging in as they hit the stretch, Wonder Gadot surged forward in a late attempt to challenge but was unable to make up the last bit of ground needed to overtake Dixie Moon, who won in a final time of 1:50.38.
"I had a great trip. I was sitting in a great position, and the pace was not that fast," da Silva said. "I pushed her a little bit early because I know she was going to have a good finish."
"She had a nice, clean trip, and she just gave it her all," trainer Catherine Day Phillips said. "Her biggest strength is in her heart. She's just a lovely filly."
Bred and campaigned by Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry, Dixie Moon improved to 4-2-0 in eight starts, with earnings of $517,216.