Woodbine Oaks upsetter Neshama faces six in Bison City

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Jen Caldwell

July 8th, 2016

Neshama seeks the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Tiara on Sunday when lining up against six rivals in the C$250,000 Bison City Stakes at Woodbine.

The Catherine Day Phillips trainee is 3-1-0 from six career starts, with her biggest win to date coming last out in the Woodbine Oaks at 15-1. That 1 1/8-mile affair serves as the first leg of the Triple Tiara, and Neshama managed to eke out a nose victory over 4-5 favorite Gamble’s Ghost.

"She really burst away from the other horses and it looked like the game was over. We were ecstatic," Day Phillips recalled. "But then Gamble's Ghost started creeping up on the outside. I didn't realize it was as close as it was until we saw the replay before they put her number up.

"It was very close. That was a heart attack.

"She's an honest hard-trying filly. I think a lot of the focus was on Gamble's Ghost and that's why she went off at such big odds."

Gamble’s Ghost would go on to compete against the boys in last Sunday’s Queen’s Plate, where she finished seventh, leaving the way clear for Neshama in the Bison City.

"We gave her a week at the farm to have a little time off. She tried hard in the Oaks and we wanted to back off for a little bit, and let her enjoy a little quiet time," Day Phillips said.

Neshama breezed four furlongs on July 2 in :49 in her final prep for the Bison City. Regular rider Eurico Da Silva was aboard for the move and retains the mount on Sunday.

"She went an easy half-mile in company. Eurico was on her and he was very pleased with her and thought she felt well and ready go this weekend," Day Phillips added. "She's happy and she's in good order and that's the main thing."

Several Bison City runners are exiting the Woodbine Oaks, including third-place finisher Caren. That bay lass is listed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite for Sunday’s 1 1/16-mile contest and brings jockey Jesse Campbell along for the ride.

Caren and Campbell have yet to score this year but teamed up in 2015 to take the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, Victorian Queen Stakes, Nandi Stakes and Shady Well Stakes. In fact, the duo’s only loss last season came as a third-place run in the Natalma Stakes (Can-G2) behind eventual Canadian Horse of the Year Catch a Glimpse and Gamble’s Ghost.

Crumlin Spirit, Trini Brewnette and Tiz Imaginary finished fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively, in the Woodbine Oaks last out.

Crumlin Spirit and Trini Brewnette took the same path to the race, running in the Lady Angela Stakes and Fury Stakes prior to that event. The former prevailed in the Lady Angela over Caren and Trini Brewnette, then finished third to Tiz Imaginary in the Fury.

Trini Brewnette ran sixth in the Fury and is seeking her first win since taking the South Ocean Stakes to close out her juvenile campaign last November.

Meadow Rose and String Bikini both just broke their maidens in their last races and complete the Bison City field.

Meadow Rose scored by 1 3/4 lengths over track and distance on June 4 in just her second career start while String Bikini was making her ninth try when breaking through with a 3 3/4-length score going nine furlongs at Woodbine on June 8.

Neshama photo courtesy of WEB/Michael Burns Photography