08/13/2011 4:50PM

Woodbine: Tu Endi Wei hangs on in Ontario Debutante

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Michael Burns
Tu Endi Wei, with Jim McAleney riding, wins the Ontario Debutante.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The promising Tu Endi Wei held off a closing Northern Passion to take the $161,000 Ontario Debutante Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday.

Tu Endi Wei dusted a good field after charging from off a rapid pace to land her only previous start in the five-furlong My Dear Stakes, but she inherited the early lead in the 6 1/2-furlong Ontario Debutante. She vied with Runfor Ro through a slow opening quarter, and then came outside that rival heading into the turn before opening up a clear advantage at the eighth pole.

Northern Passion mounted an eye-catching wide rally from fifth, but her bid fell a half-length short of Tu Endie Wei ($2.70), who dug in to prevail in 1:16.53. Runfor Ro faded to finish five lengths back in third in the six-horse field of 2-year-old fillies.

Jim McAleney rode Tu Endie Wei, who is a half-sister to reigning Canadian Horse of the Year Biofuel. She earned $90,000 for Biofuel's connections, owner/breeder Brereton Jones and trainer Reade Baker.

"I wanted her to have a free trip," said Baker. "If she had been outside, we would have taken her back, but down on the inside, I thought we better get position early. Jimmy was really smart to get away from [Runfor Ro] and come to the outside, so she didn't get squeezed down on the rail, which is never a great place to be. I was quite happy."

Baker said he plans on running Tu Endie Wei back here Oct. 8 in the Mazarine Stakes, followed by the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Nov. 4.

** Riley Ripasso ($6.90) barely beat the slight favorite, Hotep, while notching his first stakes in Saturday's supporting feature, the $100,000 With Approval.