For Chiefswood, it was the second big win for the stable on the Canadian racing scene. Nine years ago, homebred Niigon, now deceased, took down Canada’s most famous race, the Queen’s Plate, in 2004. Nipissing is a daughter of Niigon-Kiche and became the first Oaks winner since Avowal in 1982 to be sired by a Plate winner. Avowal’s sire was 1975 Plate winner L’Enjoleur.
For Bahen, it was his second Oaks triumph, having won the 1996 edition with Silent Fleet. For trainer Rachel Halden, it was her first Oaks triumph with her first Oaks starter.
time (in the Selene) we were a little further back so I was hoping
she’d break a little sharper, which she did today,” recalled Bahen, who
has been aboard Nipissing in all six previous starts. “I wanted to be three, four lengths off the pace, sit on the outside and give her a clean trip. It worked out perfectly. I heard her (Spring in the Air) coming, I said, ‘C’mon, wire’. But she ran her eyeballs out and she galloped out strongly like she always does. She’s a great horse.”
Halden, a former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield
before going out on her own several years ago, “It feels great. It just seems such a long time ago that she won the Princess Elizabeth and we started talking about this race. You just hope she stays healthy and everything goes to plan and fortunately it did. And here we are today.”
a banner juvenile season which saw Nipissing go undefeated in four
starts, winning the prestigious Princess Elizabeth and South Ocean
Stakes, she began her three-year-old season with a sixth place finish to
Emollient in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 6. She
then returned home to Woodbine and ran gamely in defeat, finishing
second to Coffee Clique in the mile and one-sixteenth Selene on May 19.
Now the question is whether she’ll take on the boys in the famed Queen’s Plate, July 7, at one mile and one-quarter. The
Oaks was actually run slightly faster than the preceding race, the
Plate Trial Stakes, won by Dynamic Sky….1:50.34 versus 1:50.59.
Nipissing earned $300,000 for the victory to push her career bankroll to $634,803. As
the 5-2 second choice, she paid $7.10, $3.40 and $2.50, combining with
7-5 choice Spring in the Air ($2.70, $2.40) for a $17.20 (7-6) exactor. A 7-6-4 (Original Script, $3.70) triactor returned $79.40 while a $1 Superfecta [7-6-4-8 (Smartyfly)] was worth $75.45.