By Woodbine Communications/ Chris Lomon
TORONTO – Elysian Field, under Sahin Civaci, unleashed a spirited stretch run to take all the spoils in the 68th running of the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser, Sunday at Woodbine.
Trained by Mark Casse for Team Valor International and Gary Barber, Elysian Field took the lead just before the stretch call and confidently fended off a pair of late-running rivals en route to a 2 ¼-length score and with it, a possible date in the King’s Plate on August 20.
Fashionably Fab and Friends for Life both broke sharply with the former emerging with a slim early advantage as the field of 14 moved past the wire for the first time and into the first turn. Ticker Tape Home was positioned third and Fortyfiveseventy settled into fourth, while Civaci had Elysian Field in sixth through an opening quarter reached in :24.02.
The lead pair continued their front-end tussle through a half-mile in :46.96 as Elysian Field was running comfortably and unhurried in seventh.
Ticker Tape Home pounced on the frontrunners ahead of three-quarters and looked to dash away from her foes, but Elysian Field was rolling to her outside, wearing down her stablemate to hold a head advantage at the stretch call before powering away for the victory.
Wickenheiser, at 6-1, finished second and 50-1 Fortyfiveseventy, three-quarters of a length further back, was third. Me and My Shadow took fourth.
“Honestly, the horse was great,” said Civaci. “I just had a good trip overall, and she came running.”
The final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:49.83.
“We bought her a month or two after her first start at Saratoga and we had her here for about two days and she went into the clinic for about a week, almost a little touch and go, colic,” said Casse. “I think it took its’ toll and we brought her home and she’s got bigger and stronger. She’s beautiful.
A chance to contest the $1 million King’s Plate appears to be a strong possibility for the daughter of Hard Spun-Elysian, according to Casse, who turned the Oaks-Plate double with Lexie Lou nine years ago.
“Gary [Barber] owns a part and he’s game. I want to talk to Barry Irwin from Team Valor, but she’s a big, strong filly and I’m extremely happy how we get a month between the Oaks and The King’s Plate, so that’s important. Three weeks is tough, so now we get four weeks, and I don’t see why she wouldn’t.”
The Woodbine Oaks has served as a Queen’s Plate stepping-stone for fillies. Oaks-Plate champions include Holy Helena (2017), Lexie Lou (2014), Inglorious (2011) and Dancethruthedawn (2001). In 2018, Oaks runner-up Wonder Gadot went on to win the Queen’s Plate. In 2022, Moira, Canada’s reigning horse of the year, achieved the same feat.
Bred by Anderson Farms Ont. Inc., the chestnut is now 2-2-0 from six starts. Elysian Field debuted at Saratoga last August, finishing second, at 50-1, in a 5 ½-furlong turf race. She broke her maiden this April at Woodbine in a 6 ½-furlong race over the Tapeta.
Elysian Field paid $13.60 for the win.