TORONTO, ON – Gary Barber and John C. Oxley’s Win the War returned to the site of her prior two career wins on Saturday, leading early before holding sway late to take the $100,000 Duchess Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking sharply as the 1/2 favorite under Patrick Husbands, Win the War set quick opening fractions of :23.46 and :46.72 while receiving pressure from Souper Striking to her inside. Hitting the top of the stretch with a slight advantage, Win the War repelled her inner foe and continued well to the wire, crossing with a 1 1/4-length lead over a late-to-the-party Hanalei Moon in a final time of 1:23.17 for the 7-furlong sprint over the synthetic surface.
“She left there pretty sharp and I tried not to disappoint her,” Husband said. “I tried to run her like the best horse in the race and she showed you she was the best. She got a little tired the last couple of strides, but she got the job done.”
Hanalei Moon was able to steal second late by a 1/2-length over a fading Souper Striking, while Love to Learn completed the order of finish. Glamanation and Miss Savvy completed the order of finish.
Win the War’s return to the winner’s circle came in her first start since a third-place effort in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita in January and improved her overall record to 4-3-0-1 with $148,258 in earnings. The Mark Casse-trained 3-year-old daughter of War Front sustained an ankle injury in that race and needed surgery and rest before making her return Saturday.
“It is a big test coming back; I’d say it’s been quite a bit of time away, but she ran great,” said assistant trainer Kathryn Sullivan. “You want to see them come back to the form before, which they don’t always do, so we’re very happy right now.”
Win the War returned $3 to win. There was no place or show betting.