The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser is the most important race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, and is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara, followed by the Bison City and the Wonder Where. A field of 9 went 1 1/8 miles over the Polytrack on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. Conditions were less than ideal all day, with intermittent rains, temperatures in the low 60's, and a stiff 20 MPH headwind through the stretch, but the skies cleared in time for the feature As expected, Queen's Plate winter book favorite Dixie Strike was sent off as the 9-10 favorite off her win in the Selene Stakes (G3). In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice Northern Passion, winner of the Fury last out, and 8-1 third choice Black Bird Rock, after breaking her maiden in her second career start.
Jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva sent Black Bird Rock to the lead first time by and she set slow fractions of 25.11, 49.79, and 1:13.10 while pressed by 42-1 Horseshoe Hill and 9-1 Irish Mission. Entering the lane, Black Bird Rock continued to stubbornly hold the lead through 1 mile in 1:37.78 but tired soon after Irish Mission came through between horses to win by 3/4 length over late-running Northern Passion in 1:50.50. It was just a head back to 35-1 Awesome Fire third, while favorite Dixie Strike checked in 5th. Irish Mission is the first winner since Kimchi in 2006 to make the Oaks her first stakes win.
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