Wonderlandbynight swept to the lead at the top of the stretch and left favored Mimi's Missy behind to register a victory in her stakes debut in the $146,910 Ontario Debutante Stakes at Woodbine Aug. 14 (VIDEO).
Racing for the first time in Canada, the 2-year-old Illinois-bred daughter of Sky Mesa is three-for-three in her career for owner Mark Dedomenico and trainer Larry Rivelli. Wonderlandbynight was awarded first-place purse money in her maiden debut June 4 on the disqualification of the original winner, then beat state-bred maidens handily as the favorite June 27. Both of her prior races were at Arlington Park.
Ridden again by E.T. Baird, Wonderlandbynight dropped to last of the five juvenile fillies after vying with the leaders early in the 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack event. Miss Taggart, pressed by 13-10 choice Mimi's Missy, carved early fractions of :23.33 and :46.59.
As the field turned for home, Baird and Wonderlandbynight seized command with a rail-skimming bid. Under steady urging, she held off Mimi’s Missy and Alex Solis by 1 3/4 lengths. The stalking Mistress Gallop ran third, another 1 1/2 lengths back, with Eurico Da Silva aboard. The final time was 1:17.40.
“Watching the races here, it looks like most of your riders want to stay off the fence,” said the Chicago-based Baird. “It might possibly be dead, but (going inside) was the only option I had, and I figured I could come through there and maybe ease her out; don’t be right on top of them down the lane.”
Wonderlandbynight earned $86,418 for the victory and paid $13, $4.80 and $2.70. She combined with Mimi’s Missy ($2.90, $2.40), third in the My Dear Stakes locally June 26, for a $35.10 exacta. Mistress Gallop ($2.40), a debut maiden winner in her only start June 19, completed a $67.90 trifecta. I'm No Toy and Miss Taggart followed.
Michael Reavis bred Wonderlandbynight, a chestnut filly out of the Gulch mare Onemiracleatatime.
I Fly High was a stewards' scratch.
Later on the program, 4-5 favorite Rahy's Attorney got back into the win column when he outfought Woodbourne in a stretch-long battle by a neck to take the $96,404 With Approval Stakes for Ontario breds over the Woodbine turf.
Ridden by Robert Landry for trainer Ian Black, Ellie-Boje Farm's homebred 6-year-old gelding won for the first time in six starts in 2010. Rahy's Attorney, the 2008 Woodbine Mile (gr. IT) winner, covered the 1 1/8-mile distance over firm going in 1:46.50 to register his 11th lifetime win 32 starts and boost his earnings to $1,695,470. He paid $3.70 to win.
Landry knew victory wouldn’t come easy for Canada’s 2008 champion turf male, who is also owned by Jim and Jean MacLellan, Mitch Peters, and Jean Read.
“I wanted him to find his natural stride,” noted Landry. “I wanted him to be where he was comfortable. He responded today. I knew it was going to be a punch to the wire. Woodbourne knows how to win, too. Good, old ‘Rahy,’ he always comes through.”
Co-owner Jim MacLellan was thrilled to see the Ian Black-trained gelding come back with a big effort after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Nijinsky Stakes (Can-IIT) July 24.
“We were very nervous,” said MacLellan. “We don’t know what happened (last time). We had to throw it out. We’re just very proud of him.
“He runs with his head so high and he never wins those bobs. It was very exciting. We loved every second of it.”