11/05/2011 4:42PM

Woodbine: Masked Maiden takes stakes debut in Maple Leaf

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Michael Burns
Masked Maiden, with Omar Moreno riding, wins the Maple Leaf.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Mark Casse-trained Masked Maiden came from last in a five-horse field to post an upset in her stakes debut in the $180,500 Maple Leaf at Woodbine on Saturday.

Masked Maiden bided her time for the first mile under Omar Moreno, as Dixie Chicken set moderate fractions in the 1 1/4-mile route. La Gran Bailadora, the 3-5 favorite from Kentucky, began to mount a wide rally on the far turn in unison with Masked Maiden, who hit the front near the eighth pole en route to a three-quarter-length win, in 2:04.96.

"I tried to settle her down as much as I could, to make one good run with her," said Moreno. "On the backside, she was going relaxed, and I gave her a chirp to pick it up again. I just let her do her thing, and when I asked her, she just went for it. She ran very well."

La Gran Bailadora finished second while 5 1/2 lengths clear of the other Casse runner in the field, second choice Indian Pond. Empire Spring and Dixie Chicken completed the order of finish.

Masked Maiden ($12.30) collected $105,000 for the partnership of Debbie Oxley and Nuckols Farm.