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Jockey Emma Jayne Wilson celebrates as Like a Gem is led to the winner's circle.
With the Sovereign Awards fast approaching, a field of ten older fillies and mares went to the gate in the $175,000 Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine, looking for a possible championship in either the 3-year-old filly or older female divisions. Hastings Park invader Monashee was sent off as the 8-5 favorite, undefeated in her last eleven starts including the Ballerina Breeders' Cup (G3) last time out. This was her first start at Woodbine, her first start over Polytrack, and her first trip over the 1 1/4 mile distance. Kiaran McLaughlin trainee I'm In Love shipped in from Belmont Park and was the 7-2 second choice, second in the Athenia (G3) last out, with Cryptoquip the 5-1 third choice, runaway winner of the Ohio Distaff at Beulah Park in her last start.
First time by and Like a Gem is on the lead with favorite Monashee (the other gray) behind her in the pack.
Like a Gem winning the Maple Leaf Stakes
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 7 Like a Gem Wilson 17.00 6.60 5.30 12 I'm in Love Husbands 5.00 3.60 4 Tell It as It Is McAleney 6.80 Winning Time: 2:03.51 $2 Exacta 7-12 71.30 $2 Trifecta 7-12-4 615.90 $1 Superfecta 7-12-4-1 3017 20Results chart
Left: Like a Gem in the winner's circle. Her trainer Dan Vella said, "We had a little trouble with her early in the year, but she’s done a lot for us in a short amount of time. We took on all challengers today. We kind of asked her a little bit early. Our intention was not to give the race to anyone, but make them come and take it from us. That’s what Emma did and the filly responded."
Like a Gem in the paddock before the race.
Right: Like a Gem returns after the race. Her jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson said, "Once Serenading went by me on the first turn, that’s when (Like a Gem) settled down. She was traveling very comfortably.” I knew they were coming. She knew where they were and she was giving me everything she had. I was joining with her and just kept on riding."
Left: Second place finisher I'm In Love in the paddock. The 7-2 second choice put in a very strong rally from ninth under new rider Patrick Husbands but was outfinished by the winner. She has two wins this year, the George Rosenberger at Delaware and an allowance race at Gulfstream.
Right: Third place finisher Tell It as It Is in the post parade. The 14-1 outsider came into the Maple Leaf off two straight wins in allowance company. She was fourth in her only other stakes start, the Ontario Colleen on September 1 on the turf.
Eighth place finisher and beaten favorite Monashee returns after the race. 8-5 favorite Monashee shipped over from Vancouver off of an 11-race winning streak, all in stakes company, and she usually won by 1 1/2 lengths or more. Fresh off the plane last week, she worked a bullet 5 furlongs in 59 2/5 over Woodbine's Polytrack. However, today she wasn't able to run her usual race on the front, after breaking poorly and being shuffled back to fifth first time past the stands. She was just 1 1/4 lengths off the pace after 6 furlongs but tired through the lane to finish eighth. Her owners plan to ship her to Southern California for winter racing.
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