Two graded stakes races at Woodbine on a cold and grey Saturday likely solidified the winners as champions of the 2023 racing season in Canada.

With apologies to the magnificent INFINITE PATIENCE in the west (4-for-5 this year), MILLIE GIRL – a fast rising star – has a good chance to be voted Champion Older Female/Main Track following her Maple Leaf Stakes (G3) victory.

Under Rafael Hernandez, who had a four-win afternoon, Millie Girl came from almost last place in the 1 1/4 mile race worth $175,000, rallied wide and drew off with her ears pricked. One of the year’s best three-year-olds, SOLO ALBUM, got out of a bit of traffic to close well for second while ANGELOU was a good third. The time was 2:03.53, good for a 93 Beyer Speed Figure according to Daily Racing Form.

Millie Girl is owned by Kingfield Racing Stable of Catherine Day Phillips, who trains, and Braconcrest Stable and Apricot Valley Thoroughbreds. The Hard Spun mare, bred by Sean Fitzhenry, was a weanling purchase in 2021 at Keeneland November for $67,000 but it wasn’t until the summer of her four-year-old year that she debuted.

Patience paid off as she won her first two races and this year she is 3-for-6 with a win in the Ontario Matron Stakes (G3), a second in the Seaway Stakes (G3) and thirds in the Nassau and Royal North, both Grade 2s on turf.

Millie Girl, one of two stakes winners on the day for her sire Hard Spun, is from the winning mare Mendocino Beano, who also produced Prince of Wales and Breeders’ Stakes winner Tone Broke and stakes winner Stallion Heiress. Her earnings are $361561.

Later, Gainesway and LNJ Foxwoods’ LOYALTY rolled to a big win in the Grade 2 Bessarabian Stakes at 7 furlongs. The win was the second graded score for the Hard Spun – Slew’s Royalty four-year-old who is trained by Josie Carroll.

Ridden by Kazushi Kimura, Loyalty was well rated behind a four-horse pace duel, moved between horses on the turn and then caught the three-year-old Love to Shop. Another Josie Carroll trainee, Dolce Sopresa, came from far back to be third.

The time of 1:22.27 was good for a 91 Beyer Figure. Loyalty, a Florida-bred half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Shamrock Rose, has seven wins in 11 races and earnings of $398,647. She was bred by Godolphin and Best a Luck Farm.