Ridden for the first time by Jono Jones in the one-mile test for 3-year-old fillies, Sugar Bay now has back-to-back stakes wins for trainer MacDonald Benson. In her last start, she captured the Duchess at seven furlongs on Woodbine's Polytrack surface at seven furlongs. The Ontario-bred Syncline filly has won her last three starts.
Sugar Bay, finishing in the center of the course at odds of 6-1, easily defeated the import Fareena with the 9-5 favorite Lickety Lemon a further 1 1/4 lengths back in third. The final time over a ‘good’ turf was 1:34.44.
Morning line choice Northern Kraze scratched leaving a field of 12. Bear Lahaina cut out the early fractions of :23.20 for the quarter and :45.72 for the half before giving way to Verdana Bold, who was in front after six furlongs in 1:09.70.
Meanwhile, Jones was content to bide his time in seventh with Sugar Bay, about five lengths off the leaders.
In the stretch, Verdana Bold was swarmed by a host of others, including the eventual winner. Sugar Bay assumed command near the eighth pole and drew away confidently for the win, her fourth in 10 career outings. Her earnings increased to $350,397.
“She was relaxed perfectly," Jones said. "When I asked her to make her move, it was a matter of how much she was going to win by. The crowd started to roar and she started to look at them. But she was good enough to win.”
Added Benson, “She’s matured and she’s settled down. Every time she comes over here (to race), she comes over more professional.”
Sugar Bay has failed to pick up a check only once, in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 8, when she finished sixth, more than 15 lengths behind winner Ginger Brew. George Strawbridge Jr. bred the chestnut filly, who is out of Otra Vez, by Rahy.
The third choice, she paid $14.30, $7.70 and $4.90, combining with Fareena ($9.10, $4.70) for a $140.40 exacta. Lickety Lemon, $2.80 to show, completed a $662.60 trifecta.
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