TORONTO, September 10, 2023 – Tito’s Calling rocketed home along the rail to win the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara, Sunday at Woodbine.
Time for an Angel, under Rico Walcott, emerged from an early scramble to grab the lead in the 1 ¼-mile turf race for Canadian-foaled 3-year-old fillies, taking her seven rivals through a modest opening quarter in :27.15, with Seattle Causeway, Me and My Shadow and Tito’s Calling next in line.
Ahead by three after a half in :52.51, Time for an Angel then extended her advantage to five lengths, as Tito’s Calling, with Sahin Civaci aboard, continued to run along comfortably in fourth.
As the field navigated its way into the final turn, Walcott implored Time for an Angel to continue on when the 25-1 outsider was confronted by a host of rivals, including 8-5 choice Me and My Shadow and late-running Flysofreeashleeb.
Tito’s Calling had the inside track on the lead group and powered along the rail to grab the lead mid-stretch. In front by a half-length at the stretch call, the daughter of Society’s Chairman-Unstablenthemornin then poured it on late to record a four-length triumph in a time of 2:04.90 over a “firm” E.P. Taylor Turf Course. Wickenheiser finished second, Flysofreeashleeb was third and Time for an Angel was fourth.
Me and My Shadow, Blackdiamond Dinny, Delphia and Seattle Causeway rounded out the order of finish.
“The first time I rode her, she ran really great,” praised Civaci, who swept Sunday’s stakes, starting with a win in the Zadracarta one race earlier. “She ran great today as well. I’ve been working her, and she’s been doing really well in the morning. Mike (trainer, De Paulo) gave me a really good instruction, just settle off the pace and wait for the rail to open up and that’s exactly what happened. She came running down after that.”
It was the first stakes crown for Tito’s Calling, who competed in all three legs of the Canadian Triple Tiara. She was tenth in the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser on July 23 and second in the Bison City Stakes on August 13.
“We knew she loved the grass,” noted De Paulo. “We were hoping she would get the mile and a quarter. She’s a lean, medium-sized filly and I thought she would be able to get the mile and a quarter.”
Seven years ago, De Paulo won the Wonder Where with another Society’s Chairman filly, Caren (also owned by Marzilli), who was named Canada’s Horse of the Year for 2016.
Tito’s Calling debuted last July at Woodbine and broke her maiden in her sixth start, a 2 ¼-length victory in a one mile and 70-yard race over the Toronto oval’s Tapeta.
The bay, who is now 3-2-1 from 12 starts, paid $9.20 for the win.
In other stakes action Sunday, Sacred Dancer, at 14-1, took the $100,000 Zadracarta, a five-furlong inner turf sprint for Ontario-bred fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up.
Ridden by Sahin Civaci, the 4-year-old daughter of Giant Gizmo-Classic Soul notched her first stakes victory courtesy of a head win in a time of :56.62 over “firm” ground. Hard Edge was second, Breathing Fire was third and Zana finished fourth.
Trained by Don Pleterski for owner Kata Pleterski, Sacred Dancer, who was contesting her third stakes race (fifth in last year’s Thunder Bay and tenth in this year’s Ballade), boosted her career record to 4-5-2 from 19 starts.
It was also the first career stakes win for both Don and Kata Pleterski.
“The first one is always the sweetest one,” said Don. “We pointed her to this race for the last month and a half. It was either this or a race next week. She’s been running good enough, so we’ll give her a chance. And here we are.”
Bred by Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, the dark bay launched her career with a pair of seconds in November 2021. She broke her maiden in her eighth start, a four-length triumph at 5 ½ furlongs on the Woodbine Tapeta.
Sacred Dancer paid $31.10 for the win.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms