06/10/2016 10:30AM

Nine willing to challenge Gamble's Ghost in Woodbine Oaks

Michael Burns
Gamble's Ghost breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 last Saturday in preparation for the Woodbine Oaks.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Gamble’s Ghost, the impressive Selene Stakes winner, hasn’t scared away the competition in Sunday’s $500,000 Woodbine Oaks. She will face nine rivals in the 61st edition of the nine-furlong test for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies on a day when the 60th anniversary of the storied track will be celebrated.

The highlight of Gamble’s Ghost’s juvenile campaign was a victory in the Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes, but her best effort might have been a second to the eventual 2015 Canadian Horse of the Year, Catch a Glimpse, in the Grade 2 Natalma.

Trainer Josie Carroll put Gamble’s Ghost on Lasix a month ago in the Grade 3 Selene and then watched her prevail after closing stoutly on the far turn in the 1 1/16-mile route.

“She ran a great race,” Carroll said. “She’s a gutsy filly.”

Gamble’s Ghost’s only other outing this year was a belated sixth in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks on grass at Tampa Bay Downs.

“She slipped a little leaving the gate, and it took her out of it,” Carroll said. “She never really got comfortable but still ran a really good race, considering the horses she was running with.”

Along with the $150,000 Plate Trial, the Oaks is one of two preps Sunday for the $1 million Queen’s Plate on July 3. They comprise the late double on the 11-race card, and both events will be broadcast on TSN in Canada from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

The $100,000 Alywow, an overnight turf sprint for 3-year-old fillies, is the third stakes on the program.

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Woodbine Oaks, Race 11


Gamble’s Ghost, by Ghostzapper

Last 3 Beyers: 78-74-73

◗ Carroll was quite content with Gamble’s Ghost’s five-furlong breeze in 1:00.80 under Luis Contreras last Saturday.

“She had a nice, spot-on work that we were looking for,” Carroll said. “We’re really happy with her.”

Caren, by Society’s Chairman

Last 3 Beyers: 76-85-28

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◗ She was the most successful Canadian-bred 2-year-old filly on the grounds last year, when she won four stakes and finished third in the Natalma. After tanking in her season opener on dirt at Gulfstream, the front-runner finished second in both the seven-furlong Lady Angela and Selene stakes.

“We were coming back in two weeks in the Selene,” trainer Mike De Paulo said. “Now, she’s going to have a month. She’s had two good works. She’s in good order.”

◗ De Paulo felt that her five-furlong breeze in 1:00.80 under Jesse Campbell last Sunday was ideal.

“We worked her in behind a horse just in case we need to be in behind on Oaks Day,” De Paulo said. “Jesse had a ton of horse. He swung out, and [she] went on about her business, and I thought she galloped out well.”

Tiz Imaginary, by Tizway

Last 3 Beyers: 79-76-73

◗ She is one of three Mike Doyle-trained entrants, along with Crumlin Spirit and Dublin Diva.

◗ It looked like she lost all chance last time after getting checked heading into the turn in the Fury Stakes, but then she mounted a furious rally to get up in time. This will be her first start around two turns, and she’s bred for the task at hand.

Dublin Diva, by Leroidesanimaux

Last 3 Beyers: 74-79-73

◗ She’s going long for the first time off a daylight score in a key seven-furlong allowance and should be prominent from the outset.

Crumlin Spirit, by Court Vision

Last 3 Beyers: 75-87-70

◗ After capturing the Lady Angela on May 1, she wound up a respectable third in the Fury. She’s also experimenting around two turns with the pedigree of a router.

Conquest Partygirl, by Giant Gizmo

Last 3 Beyers: 78-67-57

◗ Off a front-running maiden triumph, the late bloomer was supplemented for $12,500 by trainer Mark Casse, who also entered Conquest Dynasty and Luckbe Tanya. Javier Castellano has the mount.