Why I'm Betting Moonlit Promise in the Ontario Fashion Stakes
Generally speaking, 2018 has been a pretty tough year for #1 Moonlit Promise, who will be among the favorites in Sunday’s $125,000 Ontario Fashion Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine.The daughter of Malibu Moon started her career with such promise, winning six of her first nine starts over the synthetic track at Woodbine, a streak that included three straight stakes victories at the end of 2017. Among those was a sharp victory in the last year’s Ontario Fashion, where she rallied from near the back of the pack to defeat a quality field and stop the clock for six furlongs in a respectable 1:09.06.
But a trip to Gulfstream Park to contest a couple of graded stakes races on dirt at the start of 2018 seemed to have a negative impact on Moonlit Promise, who suffered defeats in both of those races plus four subsequent starts back at Woodbine. However, she finally brought her losing streak to an end with a late-running triumph in the 6 ½-furlong Sweet Briar Too Stakes at Woodbine, overcoming a slightly troubled run while wearing blinkers for the first time to win by 1 ¼ lengths. Notably, her victory was achieved despite a modest early pace that favored the front-runners; RacingFlow.com assigned the race a Closer Favorability Ratio of 1, signifying an extremely speed-favoring event.
With this in mind, it appears that Moonlit Promise is rounding back into form just in time to score a repeat victory in the Ontario Fashion Stakes, so I’ll bet her to win and play her on top of an exacta with a few other logical horses. The question is, which horses?
The most logical choice is #10 Ami’s Mesa, who has won five of her six starts over the synthetic track at Woodbine. She demonstrated her ability to compete at the Grade 1 level when finishing second by just a nose in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, but her two runs this year have been decidedly disappointing—a sixth-place finish in the Madison Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, followed five months later by an eighth-place effort in the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (gr. II), a race she won in 2017.
On her best day, Ami’s Mesa would be the horse to beat, but given the question marks surrounding her current form, I’ll use her underneath but not on top. In addition, I’ll add in the Seaway Stakes (gr. III) winner #3 Code Warrior and the speedy up-and-comer #12 Veil in hopes of catching a nicer price for the runner-up spot:
$10 to win on #1 Moonlit Promise $5 exacta: 1 with 3,10,12 ($15)