BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Live Oak Plantation homebred Souper Blessing is set to take on Breeders’ Stakes-winner Touch’n Ride and the stakes-winning filly Forever Dixie Saturday in the Grade 3 Ontario Derby at Woodbine. The CA$150,000 Ontario Derby has attracted a field of 10 sophomores who will go a mile-and-one-eighth on the synthetic main track.
Set at 12-1 on the morning line, Souper Blessing appears to have potential for improvement as the bay colt was off a step slow but rallied to finish third in the CA$127,000 Toronto Cup at a mile on the turf at Woodbine in his last race on Sept. 3.
Trained by Michael Trombetta, Souper Blessing makes his third start of the year Saturday having won a first level allowance race by three-and-a-quarter lengths going six furlongs at Presque Isle Downs on Aug. 2.
Souper Blessing is by Temple City out of Bird of Paradise, by Summer Bird and has won two of five career starts with two thirds and earnings of $58,246.
Willie Martinez will ride Souper Blessing and they have drawn post one.
Touch’n Ride will be trying to improve on his lifetime record of two wins with a third in four starts for trainer Layne Giliforte and owner Chiefswood Stables Limited.
The son of Candy Ride (Arg), won a maiden special weight by more than five lengths on the synthetic course at Woodbine on July 30 before finishing fifth in the CA$1,004,000 King’s Plate won by Paramount Prince at a mile-and-a-quarter on the all-weather surface at Woodbine on Aug. 20. He won the Breeders Stakes against fellow Ontario-breds in his most recent race on Oct. 1 going a mile-and-a-half on the turf.
Touch’n Ride has earned $238,513 and will break from post seven with Kazushi Kimura aboard.
Forever Dixie comes into the Ontario Derby off a three-and-a-quarter-length victory in the CA$125,000 Ontario Damsel going a mile-and-sixteenth over Woodbine main track on Oct. 1.
Mark Casse trains the daughter of Quality Road for John C. Oxley and looks for her to improve on her career record of three wins, two seconds and a third in 10 starts with earnings of $175,666.
Patrick Husbands has been given the call to ride Forever Dixie from post eight and they are the second choice in the program at 3-1.
Completing the field for the Ontario Derby are American Blaze with jockey Ryan Munger, Twin City with Emma-Jayne Wilson up, Cook Kiss and Luis Contreras, Stanley House will have Ruben Hernandez aboard, Velocitor with jockey Justin Stein, Two Way Crossing will be ridden by Keveh Nicholls, while Sahin Civaci has the call on Solo Album.