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Lke a Gem gets cooled off with the hose after winning the Wonder Where Stakes.
The $252,800 Wonder Where Stakes at Woodbine is the 3rd leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara for Canadian-bred fillies. Kimchi was looking to become the first ever Triple Tiara winner since the series' inception in 1999, having won the Woodbine Oaks at Woodbine and the Bison City Stakes at Fort Erie, each time by 1 1/4 lengths. The 2-1 favorite was facing her toughest challenge yet, with eleven other 3-year-old fillies challenging her as she made her first start at 1 1/4 miles and her first trip over the turf. Rains over the last two days rendered the course yielding, but race day was sunny and humid with the temperature in the high 80's. Pleasant Amelia was the 7-2 second choice, coming into the race off a 2-race winning streak, both on the grass, with Sweet Brianna the 5-1 third choice, having finished second to Kimchi in the Oaks and Bison City.
When the gate opened, 6-1 fourth choice Strike Softly went right to the front
out of the 11 post, while jockey Patrick Husbands and Kimchi were up for the
challenge, as the pair battled it out on the front end through fractions of
25.12, 49.97, 1:15.29, and 1:40.52. Strike Softly still held the lead at the
top of the stretch with Kimchi close behind, but at the 3/16 pole Kimchi tired
and could not continue to battle. Strike Softly drew 1 1/2 lengths clear with
a furlong to go, but 48-1 outsider Like a Gem, who had stalked the pace in
fourth early, was gaining with every stride down the center of the course.
Inside the 1/16 pole, Like a Gem stuck her nose in front and outfinished the
pacesetter to prevail by 1/2 a length in a time of 2:05.61 for the 1 1/4 miles
on turf. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to late-running 11-1 Sprightly in
third, and 2 1/2 more to favorite Kimchi in fourth. Sweet Brianna was sixth
and Pleasant Amelia seventh.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Like a Gem Clark 98.10 31.30 17.70 11 Strike Softly Kabel 7.50 6.50 7 Sprightly Jones 7.50 Winning Time: 2:05.61 $2 Exacta 5-11 878.80 $2 Trifecta 5-11-7 7,167.70 $1 Superfecta 5-11-7-2 38,265.80
Like a Gem poses for the winner's circle. Winning trainer Dan Vella said, "It's been a tough road getting here and she's a very tough filly. It's a great credit to her that she was able to do this today. She was sick before the Oaks and we thought she was over it, but she wasn't. She's just a great filly."
Like a Gem heads out of the paddock for the post parade. Winning owner and breeder Garland Williamson said, "That's just the way horse racing is, lots of ups and downs. Races like this just kind of wash it all away."
Second place finisher Strike Softly in the paddock before the race.
Third place finisher Sprightly in the post parade.
Fourth place finish and beaten favorite Kimchi in the post parade. Patrick Husbands, aboard beaten favorite and fourth place finisher Kimchi said, "She ran a good race, but there are no excuses. She had a perfect trip. Before the eighth pole, she said she'd had enough of this series."
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