Neshama wins Woodbine Oaks

Reprinted from Bloodhorse

ETOBICOKE, Ontario—The longshot Neshama edged out the very troubled favorite, Gamble’s Ghost, in a thrilling finish to capture Sunday’s $500,800 Woodbine Oaks under Eurico Da Silva.

Neshama had an ideal stalking trip in the nine-furlong test for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, racing in fourth early on the backstretch. Caren established fast fractions, with Conquest Partygirl in close proximity, and then Caren opened up a clear lead heading into the far turn.

Meanwhile, Gamble’s Ghost was stuck in traffic along the inside on the far turn, and then also lacked room after being angled wide entering the stretch. She subsequently closed down the center of the track, but her bid fell a nose short of Neshama, who overtook a tiring Caren inside the eighth pole to prevail on her left lead. The final time was 1:52.34.

“I had a very easy trip,” said Da Silva, who was winning his first Woodbine Oaks. “Everything went well for me. When Jesse Campbell asked [Caren] to open up a little bit, I just wanted to keep going to maybe finish second. When I saw [Caren] stopping, it was my great chance to win the race, and she ran great. She dug in. She’s a nice filly. The distance is no problem for her. She’s so relaxed. I’m thrilled.”

Trainer Catherine Day Phillips was non-committal about running Neshama, a daughter of Sligo Bay, back in the July 3 Queen’s Plate, for which she would have to be supplemented for $25,000.

“She’s acted like a nice filly right from the beginning,” said Day Phillips. “In the fall, she really came into her own. This spring, she’s been very professional. She really enjoys her job.”

Neshama ($32.30) banked $300,000 for owners Carnegie Hill Stable and Kingfield Racing Stable.