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Dixie Twist Resurgent in Ontario Debutante

Dixie Twist wins 2014 Ontario Debutante.
Photo: WEG/Michael Burns
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.

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.


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