06/11/2017 5:50PM

Holy Helena becomes Queen's Plate favorite with big win in Woodbine Oaks

Michael Burns
Holy Helena, under Luis Contreras, runs more than a second faster winning the Woodbine Oaks than 3-year-old males did in the Plate Trial.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Stronach Stable’s filly Holy Helena came charging on the outside in the stretch to take Sunday’s $501,600 Woodbine Oaks, stamping herself as the probable favorite for the $1 million Queen’s Plate in the process.

Holy Helena, a 6-1 overlay under Luis Contreras, raced in fifth in a stalking position on the backstretch, as Stallion Heiress set rapid fractions in the nine-furlong route for 3-year-old fillies.

Enstone made her way to the lead on the far turn, as Mythical Mission took up the chase on the outside, while Holy Helena ($14) loomed boldly along the inside. Contreras angled Holy Helena wide for the drive, and she gunned down Mythical Mission inside the eighth pole en route to a one-length win. 

Inflexibility, the 5-2 favorite, edged out Enstone for third while ending up seven lengths in arrears. Cindervella checked in fifth, and was followed by Ellan Vannin, Financial Recovery, Gertie T, Ghostly Presence, Inspired Vow, Stallion Heiress, and Miss Adele.

The final time of 1:50.18 was much quicker than the 1:51.32 clocking posted by Guy Caballero earlier on the card, when he won the slower-paced Plate Trial.

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Contreras worked Holy Helena five-eighths in 1:00.80 on Tapeta last Tuesday, a few days after trainer Jimmy Jerkens shipped her here from Belmont Park.

“She did it nice and easy,” Contreras said. “She handed the track very well. I knew from that point, she’d run a big race. I got a nice trip. She was nice and comfortable. I was very confident with my filly. By the quarter pole, when I swung her outside, she just gave me everything.”

Holy Helena, a homebred by Ghostzapper, earned $300,000 in just her third start. She was the third Woodbine Oaks winner for Stronach Stable.

Frank Stronach was non-committal about Holy Helena running back in the July 2 Plate.

“If she comes out of it right, we might think about it,” Stronach said. “I think she ran a second faster than the Plate Trial Stakes. The very key is how she behaves in the next few days. Normally, I space them out quite a bit. We’ll take a look.”