Star Shoot score caps off a stellar day for Sofia Vives

Star Shoot score caps off a stellar day for Sofia Vives

TORONTO, April 27, 2024 – Sabatini, in just her second start, rallied impressively down the lane to win the $125,000 Star Shoot Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies, Saturday at Woodbine.   

Sofia Vives, recently crowned as Canada’s champion apprentice for 2023, secured her first career stakes triumph as part of a five-win opening day at the Toronto oval.

Mystic Lake, sent off as the 6-5 choice, fired early out of the gate in the Star Shoot and was quickly engaged to her outside by 3-1 Dancing Duchess. Vives had Sabatini, who arrived at the race off a debut third at Turfway Park in March, running comfortably in fourth through an opening quarter in :22.93.

The lead duo continued their tussle through a half in :45.08, as Vives kept the daughter of Uncle Mo within striking distance, the pair moving into third spot heading into the turn for home.

Dancing Duchess ratcheted up the pressure on Mystic Lake in early stretch, but Sabatini was in full flight to their outside, gaining with every stride before taking command with less than 110 yards to go.

At the wire, the bay filly, owned by NK Racing and LNJ Foxwoods, was a decisive 2 ¼-length winner to break her maiden in style. Mystic Lake finished a neck in front of Dancing Duchess for second.

The final time was 1:10.02 over the all-weather track.

Vives, who had winning her first stakes race as part of her 2024 game plan, was full of praise for the Bridlewood Farm-bred (Florida) miss.

“I could feel at the three-eighths pole that I had a lot in the tank and just had to find an open spot and it all worked great for us,” said Vives.

“It was a perfect trip. She has a lot of heart and hopefully, we can carry on this year with her.”

Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer Josie Carroll lauded both filly and rider.

“I loved her first race at Turfway – she ran up into some trouble,” noted Carroll. “For a first-timer, she had every reason to back out and instead she dug in and ran on to be third. I was so proud of her there. It’s early in the year and this filly was training extremely well and with her pedigree, it would mean a lot if she got a piece of it, and I really believed in her that she could get a piece of it. Did I expect that explosive performance? Probably not, but I believe she’s that kind of horse. I just didn’t know that she was ready to do that much already.

“This young rider listens very well. She’s done everything we’ve asked of her. I’m very excited and very grateful to the owners of this horse for sending her up here to Woodbine. They knew she was a special horse and we’re very fortunate to have her here.”

Vives was understandably thrilled with the start of her season.

“I was super excited all winter. We worked very hard, we were diligent at the gym every day and getting on horses every day. We knew when we came back that we wanted to rock it and God willing, we did. It’s a very good day.”

Purchased for $625,000 at the 2023 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, Sabatini paid $28.70 for the win.

Live Thoroughbred racing at Woodbine continues Sunday afternoon with a 10-race card, including the $125,000 Woodstock Stakes. Post time is 1:10 p.m.  

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms 

Grace Martin
Grace Martin Communications Specialist, Woodbine Entertainment
Horse Racing - TB
About Woodbine Entertainment

Woodbine Entertainment is the largest horse racing operator in Canada, with Thoroughbred horse racing at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, and Standardbred horse racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Milton. Woodbine Entertaiment also owns and operates HPIbet, Canada’s only betting platform dedicated to horse racing. Woodbine and Mohawk Park are host to several world-class racing events including The King’s Plate, three Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races, and the Pepsi North America Cup. Run without share capital, Woodbine Entertainment has a mandate to financially invest all profit back into the horse racing industry and the 25,000 jobs it supports across Ontario.   

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555 Rexdale Blvd. Toronto, Ontario.