Enstone, ridden by Patrick Husbands, fended off mutuel favourite Mythical Mission to win the $225,000 Bison City Stakes, Sunday at Woodbine.
The mile and one-sixteenth Bison City, the second leg of the Triple Tiara for Canadian-foaled three-year-old fillies, was missing Holy Helena, who made front-page news, literally, after winning the Woodbine Oaks on June 11 and then reigning supreme in the 158th running of the Queen’s Plate on July 2.
Trained by Mark Casse, Enstone came into to the Bison City, her fifth straight stakes appearance, off a fourth-place finish in the Woodbine Oaks, a tough trip that saw her lose the show award by a head.
On Sunday, the daughter of Tiznow was rock-solid.
Husbands sent Enstone immediately to the front, as the duo took her five rivals through soft splits of :25.50, :50.17 and 1:13.86, while Mythical Mission, under Eurico Rosa da Silva, kept close tabs on the pacesetter.
As the field turned for home, da Silva asked Mythical Mission for her best, but Enstone refused to yield the lead, crossing the wire a one-length winner in front of the Sam-Son Farm silk bearer. It was another 6 ½ lengths back to Ghostly Presence.
The final time over the Tapeta was 1:44.88.
“She’s a very aggressive filly,” said Husbands, who teamed with Casse and Blueblood to win Saturday’s Victoria Stakes at Woodbine. “I got an easy quarter and an easy half, and I picked it up 4 ½ furlongs out because she doesn’t really have a (strong) turn of foot. From the 3/8ths pole, I really squeezed her.”
The veteran rider’s front-end tactics proved to be the perfect plan for victory.
“She will go all day,” said Husbands, who celebrated his fourth Bison City crown, also winning in 2004 with Touchnow, 2006 with Kimchi and one year later aboard Sealy Hill. “She likes the front end and she likes to be relaxed. That’s the best thing she likes to do – go on the lead, prick her ears and enjoy herself.”
Bred by Bill Graham and owned by East West Stable, Enstone collected her third win from 10 starts, along with four seconds. The Bison City is her second added-money triumph, her first coming in this year’s running of the Fury Stakes in April.
“This horse rarely runs a bad race,” noted Kathryn Sullivan, assistant trainer to Casse at Woodbine. “She tries every time. We’re just pretty happy with today and I just think she’s going in the right direction.”
The win will also be a popular one in a particular spot on Canada’s east coast, a familiar place to some of the filly’s connections.
“It (Enstone) is a tiny, little town in Nova Scotia that Dr. McMartin and his wife Sherry – Sherry is one of the owners – go to in the summer. The Enstone Pub has many pictures up on the wall already. I think this one will be in a prominent place.”
The third and final leg in the series is the $225,000 Wonder Where Stakes, at one mile and one-quarter on the turf, on July 30.
Enstone returned $5.30 and $2.20, combining with Mythical Mission ($2.10) for a $9.40 (4-6) exactor. A 4-6-2 (Ghostly Presence) triactor paid $31.10, while a $1 Superfecta [4-6-2-1 (Logic of Absurdity)] was worth $64.65. There was no show wagering.