08/05/2012 5:26PM

Woodbine: Irish Mission holds off Aldous Snow in Breeders' Stakes

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Michael Burns
The filly Irish Mission, ridden by Alex Solis, prevails by a half-length in the Breeders' Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — The filly Irish Mission  gamely held off a charging Aldous Snow to capture Sunday’s $507,400 Breeders’ Stakes, the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at Woodbine.

With Alex Solis aboard, Irish Mission ($11.80) bided her  time near the rear of the large field on the backstretch of the 12-furlong turf marathon. She loomed four-wide into contention on the far turn, and was joined on the lead by a wide-closing Aldous Snow around the three-sixteenths pole.

Aldous Snow looked like he might edge by Irish Mission at the eighth pole, but Irish Mission dug in to prevail by a half-length, in 2:30.90 over the firm ground. Quaesitor finished a non-threatening third, while favored Dixie Strike was a wide sixth in the 14-horse field of Canadian-breds. 

“She broke right where I wanted her to,” said Solis.  “It’s a long race, and I just wanted to be patient. I got into a great position at the five-sixteenths pole, and just had to wait. When she saw [Aldous Snow] coming, I hit her left-handed, and she kicked again. She’s so game.”

It was the fourth Breeders’ victory for Mark Frostad. He trains Irish Mission for Robert Evans, who purchased her for $375,000 at the Saratoga yearling sale from Sam-Son Farm, the owner of Aldous Snow.

After winning the June 3 Woodbine Oaks, Irish Mission competed in all three legs of the Triple Crown. The lanky chestnut was second in the Queen’s Plate on Polytrack, before finishing a dull sixth in the Prince of Wales Stakes on the dirt at Fort Erie. She has a foot-hold on the Sovereign Award for Canadian champion 3-year-old filly.    

Frostad said Irish Mission held up well during her grueling campaign, and went into the Breeders’ in fine fettle.

“She’d been training so well,” Frostad said. “In the end, we decided to give her a shot. We felt pretty confident that she was going to run a big race. We knew this was her trip. She has no problem with a mile and a half, and she loves the turf.

* Cryptic Message ($4.40) remained unbeaten by notching her third start in Sunday’s other stakes, the $125,000 Nandi.

With Eurico Da Silva riding for trainer Ralph Biamonte, Cryptic Message set fast fractions on a speed-favoring Polytrack before holding on for a one-length score, in 1:11.15. Professor’s Ride edged out Silent Star for second in the six-horse field of Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.