Fillies Hold Key to Ontario Derby

Holy Helena | WEG/Michael Burns photo

Sunday's GIII Ontario Derby has attracted a field of 10 and it is pair of sophomore fillies that appear ready to dominate things, both on the tote and on the track.

Stronach Stables' Holy Helena (Ghostzapper) only made it to the races for the first time six months ago, but the homebred has been a quick study. A maiden winner at second asking when stretched to a route of ground for the first time at Belmont May 12, she launched a successful first raid on Toronto to win the valuable Woodbine Oaks June 11, then was far too classy for the boys in the Queen's Plate, besting Tiz a Slam (Tiznow) by a solid 3 1/2 lengths. She returned to the main track and was the 21-5 favorite for the GI Alabama S. at Saratoga Aug. 19, but she'd run her race by the time the field reached the turn and weakened to finish eighth of nine. A repeat of either of her restricted wins gets her picture taken again.

Grizzel (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) was winless in five Irish appearances for top trainer Richard Hannon, but won her first two tries over this Tapeta track, including the GIII Selene S. May 21. A respectable fifth in the GI Belmont Oaks, she was second as the chalk in the GIII Ontario Colleen S. Aug. 27 and exits a sneaky-good fourth to Quidura (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the GII Canadian S. Sept. 16.

Cool Catomine (Spring At Last) added blinkers and stayed on well to break his maiden on the Queen's Plate undercard July 2, then ran back to the 80 Beyer Speed Figure he earned on that occasion to upset the Prince of Wales S. on the dirt at Fort Erie 23 days later. He failed to transition to the grass and trailed home last of 10 in the Aug. 20 Breeders' S., but he has trained well since and is an exotics candidate.

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