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Will 'Northern' have the Fury Passion?

Sunday’s $150,000 Fury Stakes is one of the two main preps for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks in June. At seven furlongs, it provides three-year-old fillies with an effective starting point before stretching out in the Selene next month, if they so choose.
The Fury is also the only prep restricted to Canadian-bred fillies. Even though it is at a distance three furlongs shorter than the Oaks, it provides connections with their only shot to find out how their respective charge stacks up against the crop.
That’s interesting for a filly like Northern Passion, the lukewarm 8-5 favorite in today’s Fury.  In six career starts, the Ontario-bred chestnut daughter of First Samurai has never been in a race restricted for Canadian-breds. The Mark Casse trainee broke her maiden at first asking and followed up with a gallant second to Tu Endie Wei in the Ontario Debutante. Then she captured the Grade 3 Natalma in her third career start and first ever try over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Having competed in a pair of two-turn added-money events in Florida so far this year, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the Fury is a significant class drop for Northern Passion, who has been in town working regularly at Woodbine since the beginning of April.
If there’s a knock against the John Oxley charge, it’s that with all the ambitious scheduling she’s been forced to endure, she hasn’t managed to hit the board since last September, when she took the Natalma impressively.
The first mistake made was entering the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies instead of the Juvenile Fillies Turf. That resulted in a seventh place finish, 15 ¾ lengths in arrears of My Miss Aurelia.  In her three-year-old bow, the $105,000 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs, she received a brutal trip from Sovereign Award winning pilot Luis Contreras, who had her 7 ½ lengths behind a :50 3/5 opening half mile.  She closed wide through the lane but came up three-quarters of a length short of her winning stable-mate Dixie Strike.
Northern Passion returned five weeks later in the Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park and really has no impact on the 1 1/8-mile event. The comment line says she ‘steadied’ at the top of the stretch. After reviewing the replay this morning, it didn’t much hamper her rally or impact the sixth-place position in which she checked in. The effort certainly raises questions about her current form. Then again, the Gulfstream turf course is notoriously firm and it may just be a matter of her not appreciating its quickness.
In any event, the Fury is the “show me” race for Northern Passion. With her winter conditioning and her ability, there’s no reason why she should lose the race, which has scratched down to a field of seven with the absence of Kitty’s Got Class. Her odds may not be attractive considering her recent form. But if the public has soured on her and she floats up to 5-2 or 3-1 in favor of her stablemate Dene Court or the Star Shoot runner-up Casa Loma, then she may be worth a play. Northern Passion now has the innermost draw in the Fury, as a result of the scratch.  The way the Woodbine Polytrack appeared to play on Saturday, the inside may not be the worst place to be today. Let’s not forget about her July 9 debut when she motored up the inside like a very seasoned runner. 


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Older Comments about Will 'Northern' have the Fury Passion?...

Northern Passion and Luis were usual.
Talk about a sweet trip!

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Meet Adam Hickman
I join the Horse Racing Nation team as a longtime fan and enthusiastic student of Canadian thoroughbred racing. With 22 years of race-watching and form-studying under my belt, I’m a graduate of an era that brought stars like With Approval, Izvestia, Dance Smartly and Peteski. I spent the better part of the 1990s as a casual fan, attending races on weekends. I had the privilege of being in the grandstand on one of the premiere days in Woodbine lore – the 1996 Breeders’ Cup, the one and only time the Stanley Cup of thoroughbred racing was held outside of the United States.
In 2000, about two years after graduating from Carleton University with a Journalism degree, I crossed the apron and joined the employee ranks at the Woodbine Entertainment Group, taking a position as a field camera operator that eventually led to an Associate Producer’s role in the Woodbine Broadcast Department. I developed and produced several regular segments that have aired over Woodbine’s simulcast network as well as on the national network broadcasts.  In 2005, I moved to the Woodbine Publicity Office to perform various media relations duties and write for
If there’s a thread that defined my 11-year tenure during all three WEG positions, it’s that I engineered my contribution around bridging the information gap between fan and horse.  One such initiative came in 2010, when I endeavored to bring fans regular morning Woodbine workout coverage, shooting and uploading close to 500 videos over the season. While I have moved on from my communications coordinator position to pursue different freelance opportunities, my dedication to providing fans with relevant insight and unique information won’t ever cease to be a part of my ongoing adventures in horse racing.

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