06/09/2013 4:39PM

Woodbine: Nipissing rallies to take Woodbine Oaks

Michael Burns
Nipissing (No. 7) wins the Woodbine Oaks by three-quarters of a length under jockey Steven Bahen.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Nipissing probably punched her ticket to the prestigious Queen’s Plate when she outran the favored Spring in the Air to win the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on Sunday.

Nipissing ($7.10) rated kindly in fifth on the backstretch under Steven Bahen. Her stablemate, Original Script, set moderate splits of 23.89 seconds, 48.49, and 1:13.01 in the 1 1/8-mile route for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Nipissing advanced three wide into contention on the far turn, with Spring in the Air taking up the chase after trailing the eight-horse field early. Nipissing collared Original Script at the 70-yard pole and then held off Spring in the Air to prevail by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.34.

Original Script finished another three-quarters of a length back in third, while Smartyfly faded to fourth after a stalking trip.

It was the first Oaks win for trainer Rachel Halden and the second for her partner, Bahen, who rode Silent Fleet to victory in 1996.

“I wanted to be four or five lengths off the lead and give her a clean trip outside,” Bahen said. “Last time, she was a little farther back than I wanted to be, and I was hoping she would break a little sharper, which she did today. It worked out perfectly.”

Nipissing is a daughter of 2004 Queen’s Plate winner Niigon, who was campaigned by Nipissing’s owner, Chiefswood Stable. Chiefswood owner Robert Krembil didn’t rule out a start in the $1 million Plate on July 7.

“We’ll see how she comes out of this race,” Krembil said. “The distance won’t be a problem. She can certainly go the mile and a quarter.”