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Unbeaten Fillies Lorena, Jilli Marie Top Woodbine Oaks

The Plate Trial drew only four entries and goes as the third race Aug. 1.

Lorena breezes under jockey Gary Boulanger in preparation for the Woodbine Oaks at Woodbine

Lorena breezes under jockey Gary Boulanger in preparation for the Woodbine Oaks at Woodbine

Michael Burns

Lorena and Jilli Marie will put their respective unbeaten records on the line Aug. 1 in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser. The Oaks and the $150,000 Plate Trial, contested with a short field early on the Sunday program at Woodbine, are key preps for the Aug. 22 Queen's Plate.

Inaugurated in 1956, the filly classic attracted 10 Canadian-foaled 3-year-old fillies carrying 121 pounds over 1 1/8 miles on the Tapeta.

Favored at 2-1 is Lorena, a daughter of Souper Speedy  bred by Dr. Liam Gannon and trained by Stuart Simon. The latter co-owns her with Brent and Russell McLellan and former jockey Gerry Olguin. The dark bay is 3-for-3, including a front-running score in the Fury Stakes July 10 at Woodbine.

In the Fury, Lorena led the field of Canadian-bred fillies through a quarter in :23.57 and a half-mile in :46.82 and held her challengers at bay to win the seven-furlong sprint in 1:23.94 with Gary Boulanger in the irons. 

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"She's just done everything so well," praised Simon. "She keeps taking steps forward. I'm not concerned about the distance. I'm a little concerned about running back in three weeks. It's a cramped schedule, but there's also only one chance to win the Oaks."

Boulanger, inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2020, will look to win his second Oaks, 20 years after guiding Sam-Son star Dancethruthedawn to victory in both the Oaks and Queen's Plate.

Lorena adds Lasix. Sunday's race will be her first route.

The Katerina Vassilieva-trained Jilli Marie will also endeavor to keep her win streak intact. Owned by Kevin Drew, the daughter of Dynamic Sky is also 3-for-3. One of those victories came in the South Ocean Stakes two starts ago, back in the fall of last year.

"She's a really gritty filly," said Vassilieva. "She has a lot of heart. She's such a small horse in stature, but she has a ton of heart. She tries so hard in all of her races. She's fearless, she's patient—she has all the right qualities of a really good racehorse." 

All of her races have also been in sprints.

Breeze Easy's Curlin's Catch, trained by Mark Casse, is another contender, as is Raroma Stable's Munnyfor Ro, runner-up in open company in the Selene Stakes (G3) for trainer Kevin Attard.

The Oaks goes as the eighth race at 4:46 p.m. ET.

About two and a half hours earlier in the third race, just four males are lined up in the Plate Trial, two of them maidens.

Stakes-winning Avoman is narrowly favored at 8-5 odds on the morning line in the 1 1/8-mile contest, just ahead of H C Holiday at 9-5. D-Mac Racing Stable and La Huerta's Avoman took the Bull Page last year for trainer Donald MacRae, while Ivan Dalos' H C Holiday was fourth in an optional claiming race July 3, a length and a quarter behind third-place Avoman. The Attard-trained H C Holiday was disqualified from a June 13 maiden victory at Woodbine. 

Entries: Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser

Woodbine, Sunday, August 1, 2021, Race 8

  • STK
  • 1 1/8m
  • All Weather Track
  • $500,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 4:46 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Curlin's Catch (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Manuel Hernandez121Mark E. Casse3/1
22Jilli Marie (ON)Steven Ronald Bahen121Katerina Vassilieva8/1
33Miss Marie (ON)David Moran121Breeda Hayes10/1
44Lorena (ON)Gary Boulanger121Stuart C. Simon2/1
55Youens (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateJeffrey Ian Alderson121Angus Buntain30/1
66Emmeline (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateEmma-Jayne Wilson121John Mattine12/1
77Erasmo's Girl (ON)Ademar Santos121Steven Chircop30/1
88Lady Moonshine (ON)Kazushi Kimura121Mark E. Casse15/1
99Il Malocchio (ON)Patrick Husbands121Martin Drexler8/1
1010Munnyfor Ro (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateJustin Stein121Kevin Attard9/2

Entries: Plate Trial S.

Woodbine, Sunday, August 1, 2021, Race 3

  • STK
  • 1 1/8m
  • All Weather Track
  • $150,000
  • 3 yo
  • 2:07 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11H C Holiday (ON)Kazushi Kimura126Kevin Attard9/5
22Derzkii (ON)Emma-Jayne Wilson126Carlos Grant5/2
33Truffle King (ON)Justin Stein126Kevin Attard5/1
44Avoman (ON)Antonio A. Gallardo126Donald C. MacRae8/5