Moira, making her three-year-old debut, swooped to the lead in early stretch to take the $125,000 Stella Artois Fury Stakes at Woodbine.
For trainer Kevin Attard, the distance and circumstances weren’t ideal, but the end result was perfect for his star sophomore filly who shone in the seven-furlong race for three-year-old fillies foaled in Canada.
U.S. invader Mommasgottarun, making her first start at Woodbine and over the Tapeta, zipped to the lead as Souper Flashy and mutuel choice Aubrieta settled into second and third, respectively, through an opening quarter timed in :23.44.
It was status quo through a half-mile reached in :45.97, as Rafael Hernandez, aboard Moira, sat sixth of seven, waiting for the right moment to take aim at the leaders.
As the field navigated the turn for home, Hernandez had Moira rolling to the outside, and the duo struck front at the top of the lane, scooting past Aubrieta and Souper Flashy.
On top by a half-length at the stretch call, Moira, who had impressed in winning her career bow, last year’s Princess Elizabeth Stakes, was able to fend off a hard-charging Pioneer’s Edge by a head in a time of 1:22.81. Aubrieta was third and Souper Flashy fourth.
“It was the first time aboard in the races, but Kevin let me work her twice before the race, and it let me know how she reacted in the morning,” said Hernandez. “It helped me a lot in the race. That was the plan [a strong gallop out]. Kevin told me, ‘Raffi, after the race, I just want you to give her a big, huge gallop out.’ And that’s what I did, and she galloped out great.”
A bay daughter of Ghostzapper-Devine Aida, Moira, bred in Ontario by Adena Springs, notched her second win from three starts, after closing out her two-year-old campaign with a runner-up effort to Mrs. Barbara in the Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes in November. She was sold by Hidden Brook Farm at the 2020 Keeneland September sale.
“I don’t think she did anything wrong,” noted Attard. “She was a little wide and obviously, the distance I wasn’t happy with. So, I’m ecstatic the way she ran, and I think she’s going to move up off this race tremendously.”
Owned by X-Men Racing LLC, Madaket Stables LLC, and SF Racing LLC, Moira solidified herself as a top contender for the 1 1/8-mile $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser, set for July 24 at Woodbine.
“It definitely worked out well,” said Attard, who won last year’s Oaks with eventual Canadian three-year-old female champion Munnyfor Ro. “Obviously, today was an important step to get her ready for the Oaks. That’s the ultimate goal right now. We needed to get her to the races. We were a little behind the eight-ball, a lot of these fillies have already run. We were making our first start, so it was very important to get a race into her. Obviously, winning makes it extra special.”
-edited from www.woodbine.com