09/24/2016 4:57PM

Caren holds on by nose in Ontario Colleen

Michael Burns
Caren, under Jesse Campbell, barely holds off the late charge of Shake Down Baby in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — A determined Caren notched her first graded stakes when she barely took the $175,300 Ontario Colleen Stakes over a charging Shake Down Baby at Woodbine on Saturday.

Caren ($11.60) went straight to the front and set a moderate pace in the one-mile turf event. Shake Down Baby saved ground in sixth on the turn before closing along to the rail to lose by a nose, as Caren completed the distance in 1:35.26.

Thundering Sky finished third in the nine-horse field of 3-year-old fillies. Ancient Secret, the heavily favored, Chad Brown-trained shipper, finished seventh after a slow start in her first career loss.

Caren, a daughter of Society’s Chairman, doesn’t respond favorably to the whip, and she prevailed under a vigorous hand ride from Jesse Campbell. 

“There wasn’t much of a game plan,” said Campbell. “She popped out of there running, a bit little harder than I expected her to. I just went with it, because I know her, and I know that she’s going to go down swinging. It’s tough for me to go that far down the lane without taking the sword out, but when they give you that much…she’s a trip.”

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Caren, the leading contender for Canadian champion 3-year-old filly honors, banked $108,000 for owner Robert Marzilli.

Caren’s win was the second in a Grade 3 stakes on the afternoon for trainer Mike DePaulo, who also captured the Gallant Bob at Parx with Noholdingback Bear.