11/11/2010 7:14AM

South Ocean strategy change works for Isabella Bay

Michael Burns
Isabella Bay, under Chantal Sutherland, runs down Dreamy Moonlite to win the South Ocean at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Isabella Bay ran down Dreamy Moonlite in the final strides to take the $126,200 South Ocean Stakes on Wednesday night at Woodbine Racetrack.

Isabella Bay got away slowly under Chantal Sutherland, and was rated near the back of the pack, while Zee Beauty set a fast pace in the 1 1/16-mile test for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.

Isabella Bay loomed into contention while three wide on the far turn, as Dreamy Moonlite took control, opening up a 3 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole. Isabella Bay kicked in through the final furlong and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:45.69.

Favored Sagatiba checked in another length back in third in the eight-horse field.

“The plan was to take her back,” Sutherland said. “It doesn’t always work out in racing, but it worked out well for her. She relaxed. A couple of times, she jumped on the bridle a little, and she was aggressive. The race set up nicely for her. I was concerned at the quarter pole, because she came off the bridle, but when I asked her, she had the fitness to move on.”

Trainer Ian Howard said he felt like he had no choice but to get Sutherland to take the speedy Isabella Bay off the early pace, because the track was kind to closers in the earlier races.

“Chantal did a great job getting her left a little out of the gate and covered up,” Howard said. “It worked out perfectly.”
Isabella Bay ($23.60) collected $75,000 for a partnership headed by Donald Ross.