By Woodbine Communications/ Chris Lomon
TORONTO – This year’s edition of the Canadian Triple Tiara concludes with Sunday’s running of the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes, at Woodbine.
Set at 1 ¼ miles on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, the Wonder Where, for 3-year-old Canadian-bred fillies, drew eight starters. Elysian Field, who won the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser, went on to finish a strong second to stablemate Paramount Prince in the 164th running of The King’s Plate on August 20. Me and My Shadow, in to contest the Wonder Where, captured the second jewel of the Triple Tiara, the Bison City, on August 13.
Flysofreeashleeb, owned by John Brnjas’ Colebrook Farms, is named after trainer Ashlee Brnjas, John’s daughter, who passed away in September 2021.
Still a maiden after nine starts, Flysofreeashleeb, who sports a 0-1-2 mark, heads into the Oaks off a strong runner-up effort in what was her first test on the grass.
Under Jose Campos, who will be in the irons again on Sunday, the dark bay daughter of Midnight-Lute-Sinful put in her typical energetic late run and missed by a nose for top prize in the one-mile race run over the inner turf.
“She’s doing great,” said multiple stakes-placed trainer Patrick Dixon, who also gallops the filly. “She came out of her last race in good order. She was just unfortunate not to get up in time in that last race. Just one step after the wire her head was in front, but it was a great run from her. She likes to drop herself out of it and come with a big, late run. So, I don’t know if that’s how her body warms up into the race or if that’s her style of running.”
The distance of the Oaks, the surface and the long E.P. Taylor stretch should be a perfect fit for the filly bred by Janeane Everatt (who passed away on July 12), James Everatt and Arika Everatt-Meeuse, according to Dixon.
“She has great determination, and she always puts in a good effort. That to me is a good sign in a racehorse, that they have the will to compete. It doesn’t faze her if she doesn’t win. It doesn’t stay with her. She goes out and gives it her all.”
Flysofreeashleeb, whose groom is Reson White, will have a large cheering section trackside for the Oaks.
The horse has become a favourite in the Dixon barn.
“Everybody is always hoping for her,” said Dixon. “Everyone here makes her feel special and she knows it. She does get a lot of things her own way. Her groom always wants to know how she’s doing when he’s not here. John wants to know how she is every day too, to know if she is happy and training well. We all want to see her win for Ashlee and John. I just had a look at her with my team and she couldn’t look any better. She was bouncy and happy.”
Me and My Shadow, a daughter of Violence-Silhouette, heads into the Wonder Where off her biggest win to date, a 3 ½-length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Bison City.
With jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard, the bay, owned by D.J. Stable LLC, advanced steadily into the far turn and was rolling on the outside as the field straightened for home.
Ahead by a half-length at the stretch call, Me and My Shadow then widened her advantage for the authoritative score.
“She’s training very well,” said Casse, who won the 2006 Oaks with Kimchi, the following year with Sealy Hill, and the 2014 edition with Lexie Lou. “We went to Saratoga (for the running of the Grade 3 Schuylerville) with her last year and when we brought her back, we never felt she was the same horse. It’s taken her a long time. Even this winter, I didn’t think she trained with the enthusiasm I had seen in her before. This spring, she trained good, but not great. But going into the Bison City, she started training like herself again and she came out of the race probably better than ever.”
The Wonder Where will be the sophomore’s first try on the turf.
“Obviously, we don’t know if she will like the grass, but when you analyze her pedigree, it says she will like it.”
Bred by Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Inc., and N.E.T.P, Me and My Shadow is 2-2-1 from eight starts with $260,988 in purse earnings.
The race is named after champion filly Wonder Where, Canada’s 1959 Horse of the Year and Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee.
Sealy Hill, Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2007, took all three Triple Tiara races in that same year.
$250,000 Wonder Where Stakes
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Blackdiamond Dinny – Daisuke Fukumoto – Roger Attfield
2 – Time for an Angel – Rico Walcott – John Bourke
3 – Tito’s Calling – Sahin Civaci – Michael De Paulo
4 – Me and My Shadow – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Mark Casse
5 – Wickenheiser – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard
6 – Delphia (S) – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard
7 – Flysofreeashleeb – Jose Campos – Patrick Dixon
8 – Seattle Causeway – Leo Salles – John LeBlanc, Jr.