John C. Oxley's Dixie Twist, expertly
handled by Gary Boulanger, broke her maiden in style in Saturday's
$139,000 Ontario Debutante Stakes, at Woodbine.
Photo: WEG/Michael Burns
Dixie Twist, bred in Ontario by Josham Farms Limited and trained by
Mark Casse, arrived at the six furlong 'Poly' sprint for juvenile
fillies from a troubled second-place run in the Shady Well Stakes won by
Ontario Debutante rival Starless Night.
This time, it was Starless Night who found trouble bolting wide
after leaving from the outside post in a field of six while Dixie Twist,
from post two, broke smartly.
Starless Night regrouped quickly and rushed up the backstretch to
duel with Dixie Twist through opening splits of :22.53 and :46.06 with
Happy to Go and Unhindered tracking their pace.
Luis Contreras urged Unhindered, the My Dear Stakes winner, into
the lead through the turn with a sweeping move but could not sustain the
run as a resurgent Dixie Twist found another gear and battled on to the
wire for a narrow head score over a late rallying
Roaming. Dixie Twist covered six furlongs in 1:11.14.
"We didn't expect to be that close, but she broke hard today and
was doing it easy," said Boulanger. "I just went with the flow of the
race. I knew I had quite a lot of horse and I didn't want to move any
sooner than I had to.
“The outside horse (Unhindered) made a big sweeping move and then
she (Dixie Twist) got her legs underneath her again, switched leads and
kicked on and made me look good."
Purchased for 180,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale,
Dixie Twist, a half-sister of 2012 Grade 3 Illinois Derby champ Done
Talkin, enjoyed a much better trip this time around after being checked
and carried wide in her Shady Well Stakes debut.
"She lost her hind end for two strides and it took a couple strides
to get herself back underneath me and here she comes running to be
second (in the Shady Well)," recalled Boulanger. "I lost so much
momentum that for her to run second was phenomenal.
She showed today that she's a very nice filly."
Dixie Twist banked $90,000 in victory while breaking her maiden in just her second career start.
She paid $6.80, $3.80 and $3, combining with Roaming ($14.10,
$4.70) for a $90.80 (2-3) exactor. A 2-3-4 (Sweet Dreams, $2.80)
triactor was worth $322.30.