Tuesday, April 07, 2009
It was a cold and windy Saturday at Woodbine for the kickoff to their 53rd season of Thoroughbred racing. Horses and riders at the Toronto oval faced wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, with temperatures in the high 30's. Kicking off the 2009 stakes schedule was the $100,000 La Voyageuse Stakes, a 5 furlong sprint for for Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies. High Mist was sent off as the 7-5 favorite in the field of 7, exiting a well-beaten 5th place finish last time out in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes in November. In to challenge her included 3-1 second choice Pretty Katherine, an allowance winner at Golden Gate last out, and 5-1 third choice Double Malt, winner of two straight going in including the South Ocean in November.
Soon after the start, Mullins Beach and Sans Souci went for the early lead and battled through the first 1/2 mile through fractions of 22.24 and 45.99. At the top of the stretch, jockey Patrick Husbands urged Mullins Beach, who found another gear and pulled away through the final furling to win going away by 3 3/4 lengths in 58.59. Sans Souci held off late-running favorite High Mist for third place by a nose.