Aunt Els Too Tough in Ontario Lassie

Aunt Els Too Tough in Ontario Lassie
Photo: Michael Burns Photography
Aunt Els wins the Ontario Lassie Stakes.

Aunt Els led at every call to turn back odds-on favorite Original Script by one length in the $151,739 Ontario Lassie Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Woodbine (VIDEO).

The chestnut daughter of Consolidator, an R.M.C. Stable homebred trained by Norm McKnight, earned her third consecutive victory after being supplemented for $3,000 to the 1 1/16-mile race restricted to Ontario foals. The winner, making her stakes debut, is out of the Flame Thrower mare Frivolous Flo.

Aunt Els, under Justin Stein, set splits of :24.14, :48.60 and 1:14.11 with Jean's a Lady and Original Script stalking closely down the backstretch.

Original Script was asked for her best run through the turn and battled the front-runner the length of the stretch, but could not pass Aunt Els. She crossed the wire first in 1:47.16 under light handling from Stein.

Stein, guiding the filly around two turns for the first time, said he expected to make the pace.

"She's a pretty quick sprinter," said Stein. "I figured with the horses in this race, that she would be a factor in the pace scenario. She broke like a bullet and that pretty much made the plans for the rest of the race."

Previousy unbeaten Original Script, sent to post as the 7-10 pick after two dominating wins, did cause Stein some concern.

"She (Original Script) looked like she was going pretty easy beside me," said Stein. "Of course, with her form, you have to have respect for her, but they're all beatable."

Aunt Els, who sprinted into the Ontario Lassie off an impressive 4 3/4-length allowance score, banked $91,044 in victory while improving her record to three wins from four career starts.

Sent off as the second choice in the field of six, she paid $6.10, $3, and $2.10, combining with Original Script ($2.30, $2.10) for a $12.30 exacta. Rutherford Rd, $2.40 to show, was seven lengths farther back in third. Der Bee Buz and Jean's a Lady followed, while Ellsmere Island was pulled up in the stretch.

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