Updated on 09/18/2011 12:13AM

Kimchi hangs on in Woodbine Oaks


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Kimchi circled three wide into contention on the far turn and then held off Sweet Breanna in the final furlong to win the $502,000 Woodbine Oaks on Sunday.

Kimchi saved ground on the first turn before jockey Patrick Husbands angled her wide for the run down the backstretch. Seductively set quick fractions of 23.10 seconds, 46.97, and 1:11.83, with Sweet Breanna and Executive Flight in close pursuit.

Kimchi joined the leaders at the three-eighths pole and took control at the head of the stretch, opening up a 2 1/2-length cushion at the eighth pole. Sweet Breanna narrowed the gap, but Kimchi prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths. The winning time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:52.23.

Seductively faded to third, and Questuary rallied from last in the 10-horse field of 3-year-old Canadian-breds to be fourth. Strike Softly, the 2-1 favorite, finished seventh.

Trainer Mark Casse said he took the blinkers off for the Oaks because Kimchi was too aggressive in the early stages of a May 13 allowance, in which she finished second to Sweet Breanna.

"We had planned to be right off the speed," Casse said. "Last time, she was a little rank. That's why we took the blinkers off, and it worked out."

Justin Stein, who rode Sweet Breanna, said he was content with Sweet Breanna's performance.

"I think she ran a winning race," Stein said. "She was digging in hard down the lane to catch [Kimchi]."

Owned by Seasoft Stable, Kimchi ($19.70) won her first stakes and earned $300,000. She will go on to the next leg of the Canadian filly triple crown series, the July 2 Bison City Stakes at Fort Erie. Casse said Kimchi might be better on the grass, the surface over which the third leg of the series, the July 29 Wonder Where Stakes, is run.

* In the $125,000 Victoria Park Stakes, New York invader Harborage ($3.70) rallied from last in a four-horse field to score a four-length victory over Ok Nothanksforaskn. Mike Luzzi rode Harborage, a Gary Contessa-trained horse who won his first stakes and covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.70.

* Arravale ($10.20) rallied down the center of the turf course under Emma Wilson to capture Sunday's other stakes, the $102,400 Alywow, a 6 1/2-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies. Arravale, trained by Mac Benson for Robert Costigan, earned $60,000. Unbeaten in three grass starts, she also won the Grade 3 Natalma Stakes at 2.