11/19/2016 6:34PM

River Maid strengthens Sovereign Award credentials by winning Bessarabian

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Michael Burns
Rvier Maid, with Gary Boulanger aboard, could be a strong contender for Canadian champion female sprinter after winning the Bessarabian.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — River Maid  staked her claim for the Sovereign Award as this year’s Canadian champion female sprinter with a gritty score under Gary Boulanger in Saturday’s Grade 2 Bessarabian Stakes at Woodbine.

The favored Midnight Miley dragged Rafael Hernandez to the lead in the seven-furlong sprint. She set moderate splits while being stalked Southern Ring, as River Maid rated kindly in fourth.

River Maid ($11.90) went from the No. 2 path to the No. 4 path in the stretch over the outside-favoring surface, and then caught the leaders late to prevail by a neck. Southern Ring nosed out the wide-closing Minks Aprise for second, as Midnight Miley weakened along the rail to finish fourth in the seven-horse field. The final time was a quick 1:21.85.

River Maid was stretching out off a third-place finish traveling six furlongs in the Grade 3 Ontario Fashion.

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“She’s a hard-trying mare,” said Boulanger, who was celebrating his birthday. “She always shows up. She gives you everything she has. Three-quarters might have been a little short for her. She’d worked really well going into this race. She put me in a great position. When she was that close at the five-sixteenths pole, I thought I could have a big piece of it, if not all of it. She really dug in down the lane.”

River Maid, by the Ontario sire Where’s the Ring, earned $144,000 of the $233,200 purse for The Very Dry Stable and trainer Bob Tiller.

Let It Ride Mom takes Glorious Song

Daughters of the popular Spendthrift Farm stallion Into Mischief ran one-two in the $126,900 Glorious Song Stakes. Let It Ride Mom ($3.90) held off the charging 21-1 shot Sister Nation in the seven-furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies, scoring by a half-length, in a time of 1:22.69.

Rafael Hernandez rode Let It Ride Mom for Live Oak Plantation and trainer Mark Casse.

“Everything went good,” Hernandez said. “Last time, the horse got the lead, and just waited for the horses. This time, I waited more and made a big run. She finished strong today, and won the race.”