07/29/2012 4:43PM

Woodbine: Awesome Fire closes strong to win Wonder Where Stakes

Michael Burns
Awesome Fire, with Chantal Sutherland up, wins the $250,400 Wonder Where Stakes at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Awesome Fire rallied from far back under Chantal Sutherland to capture the $250,400 Wonder Where Stakes for her brother, owner Hugh Sutherland, at Woodbine on Sunday.  

Awesome Fire was making her first turf start in the 10-furlong Wonder Where, the final leg of the Canadian triple tiara, a lucrative series for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies. After breaking awkwardly, she trailed on the backstretch and then made her way into contention on the far turn.

Awesome Fire split horses in the stretch and caught the leaders in the final strides to prevail by a half-length in 2:04.12 over the firm going. She returned $18.80 to win, and earned $150,000 in her first stakes triumph for trainer Nick Gonzalez.

“She was really responsive,” Chantal Sutherland said. “When I hit the three-eighths, I really asked her, and she started to run. When I got on her last year, she was a little more nervous. She was really calm today.”

Lateegra, at 52-1, the longest price in the lineup, finished second by three-quarters of a length over Black Bird Rock. Favored Dene Court was pressed through quick fractions, before fading to trail the nine-horse field.