Blue Heart, getting a textbook ride from Alex Solis, overtook front-running Casa Loma and favored Black Bird Rock in deep stretch to capture the $245,875 Bison City Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths at Woodbine July 1 (VIDEO).
The field for the second leg of Canada's triple tiara for 3-year-old fillies foaled in Canada was reduced to five by the scratch of 7-5 morning line favorite Northern Passion, who was second in the Woodbine Oaks June 3.
Woodbine Oaks winner Irish Mission did not run in the Bison City after finishing second in the Queen's Plate June 24 against males.
Blue Heart registered her first victory since taking Woodbine's Mazarine Stakes last October for trainer Brian Lynch and owner John Amerman.
The daughter of Exchange Rate out of the Saint Ballado mare Flawless Diamond was bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms and brought $375,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Solis rode the gray/roan filly for the first time in the Bison City. They completed the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.77 over the Polytrack.
Solis, who captured the the Woodbine Oaks aboard Irish Mission, was impressed with B;lue Heart's turn of foot through the stretch.
"I waited down on the inside," said Solis. "When I asked her to go at the three-sixteenths (pole), she responded nicely. I felt like she had an easy race. She saved all the ground, and only ran 300 yards.”
Making her second start of the year, Blue Heart stalked a dawdling pace along the rail as Casa Loma led the maiden Simple as That through fractions of :25.45, :49.88, and 1:14.18. Black Bird Rock, the 7-5 favorite ridden by Patrick Husbands, edged up on the outside to challenge Casa Loma, ridden by Steve Bahen, leaving the final turn.
Solis, biding his time along the inside, waited for room and angled Blue Heart off the rail to split the leaders near mid-stretch. Blue Heart skipped away late under a strong hand ride to win in smart style.
Black Bird Rock, racing without blinkers after setting the pace in the Woodbine Oaks and tiring to fourth, nosed out Casa Loma for second.
Blue Heart began her season with a runner-up finish by a neck to Dene Court in the Alywow Stakes going six furlongs on the Woodbine turf. She has won three times in six lifetime starts with one second one third. The victory, worth $147,525, pushed her career earnings to $394,285.
Under equal weights of 121 pounds, Blue Heart paid $6.20, $3, and $2.40 as the second choice. Black Bird Rock, from the Mark Casse barn, returned $2.90 and $2.20 while completing a $16.60 exacta. Casa Loma paid $2.90. Awesome Fire was fourth and Simple as That trailed.
The final race of the Canadian 3-year-old filly series is the Wonder Where Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on the Woodbine grass July 29.