TORONTO, ON – Sam-Son Farm’s homebred Desert Isle put forth a strong effort in the stretch to earn her first career stakes score in Saturday’s $100,000 Zadracarta Stakes for Ontario-bred fillies and mares at Woodbine.
Breaking from the far outside post 8 under Junior Alvarado as the co-3/1 favorite, Desert Isle remained stuck out wide down the backstretch while China Rider dueled with Silent Sonet, the other 3/1 co-favorite. The pacesetters posted opening fractions of :23.17 and :45.58 as the tightly-bunched field raced through the far turn.
At the top of the stretch, Silent Sonet began to open up, but she flattened out in mid-stretch, allowing a rallying Desert Isle to take the lead from the middle of the lane. Though the 21/1 longshot Miss Sea posed a threat to her outside, Desert Isle proved too tough and won the 7-furlong sprint over the firm turf course by 3/4 of a length in a final time of 1:21.28.
“She is a nice filly and she is very forwardly placed,” Alvarado said. “It just mattered on how she’d break and how she wanted to be. I didn’t want her to be too rank. You just want to give her a nice, comfortable ride, and that’s what she did. She broke good, she put me in a nice spot, and I was just there for a ride.”
Miss Sea’s determined drive resulted in a strong second by 3/4 of a length over Zestina, who rallied for third along the inside. Red Cabernet and Alnilah dead-heated for fourth, while behind them came the weakened duo of Silent Sonet and China Rider, with Scotty’s Model completing the order of finish.
Desert Isle’s win was her second straight following an allowance score at Delaware Park on May 27 and improved her career record to 9-3-0-0. The Graham Motion-trained 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini, who broke her maiden here last September 15, increased her lifetime bankroll to $114,858.
“She is a filly we’ve always thought really highly of and maybe it took us a little while to figure her out,” Motion said. “She is a filly you can’t take too much of a hold of and I think Junior did a beautiful job. We love coming to Woodbine. It’s a beautiful turf course and it’s a tremendous facility and we like to win stakes here.”
Desert Isle returned $8.30 to win, $5.70 to place, and $3.30 to show. Miss Sea brought back $18.80 to place and $8 to show, while Zestina paid $4.10 to show.