Trained by Kevin Attard for Raroma Stable, Munnyfor Ro was the last to load in the first leg of the Triple Tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, but was first when it counted most, setting herself up for a shot at the Aug. 22 Queen's Plate.
It was Lorena, undefeated in three starts coming into the Oaks, who led the way through a quarter-mile in :24.35. Lorena was still in command while Munnyfor Ro cruised comfortably in eighth spot, and remained there after a half-mile went in :48.41.
As the field began to envelop Lorena, Munnyfor Ro, sixth after three-quarters in 1:12.35, began to pick off rivals one by one. The Munnings filly was full of run around the turn for home. At the stretch call, she was a half-length ahead of a determined Emmeline, who continued to fight on along the rail.
At the wire, Munnyfor Ro was a 1 1/4-length winner. Emmeline stayed on for second, a nose ahead of Il Malocchio. The final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.31 on the fast all-weather track. Munnyfor Ro, the 3-1 third choice, returned $8.70 for the win.
"I was told the key with her is to have her settled," noted Stein. "The pace … it looked like there was probably some possibility of them stopping, which we didn't want to be in behind them. I put her in a spot that we could tip out in the turn when it came time to ask her to run from the quarter pole home. We had a dream trip; worked out perfect."
It was an Oaks first for Attard and a second for Stein, who teamed with Academic to take the 2015 running.
"We were expecting a good performance out of her," said Attard. "She came up here this season in good shape from (trainer) Brian Lynch—had a great campaign over the winter time. She ran a fabulous race (second) in the Selene (G3). I thought she'd move off that race forwardly enough to kind of be really competitive here today. Had a good interim breeze and put it all together."
For owner Rajendra Maharajh, it was a perfect day from start to finish.
"My good buddy Art Fisher from Ocala picked her out for me," said Maharajh, who named the horse for his son Ro. "She came up here (last year) and ran two races. She was a little immature at the time. We sent her down to Florida and gave her the winter off and then with COVID, my other trainer, Brian Lynch, took her over and prepped her up, and we were always planning for this race. Brian did a fabulous job getting her ready and then she came over just about a month ago and Kevin did the final touches on her and he did a fabulous job."
The decision to run Munnyfor Ro, now 2-2-2 from nine starts starts with earnings of $320,985, in the Queen's Plate, will be made in the coming days.
"A mile and a quarter is going to be her trip; I'm not worried about the distance. We'll see how she comes out of the race and then we're going to have to sit down and talk, and see if supplementing her is the next move."
The Woodbine Oaks has served as a Queen's Plate stepping-stone for fillies. Oaks-Plate champions include Holy Helena (2017), Lexie Lou (2014), Inglorious (2011), and Dancethruthedawn (2001). In 2018, Oaks runner-up Wonder Gadot went on to win the Queen's Plate.
Munnyfor Ro was bred in Ontario by Daybar and is the second foal out of the Distorted Humor mare Repartee, whose latest registered foal is a yearling Unified filly. She was purchased by Raroma Stables for $65,000 out of the Woods Edge Farm consignment to the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Video: Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser (BT)
Earlier in the day D-Mac Racing Stable and La Huerta's Avoman proved the best in a field of four Canadian-bred 3-year-olds in the CA$150,000 (US$120,197) Plate Trial Stakes, getting by the others to score by three-quarters of a length in the 1 1/8-mile test.
Trained by Donald MacRae, the Old Forester gelding made a bid for the lead from third while three wide on the turn. Under Antonio Gallardo, Avoman got a head in front of Truffle King as they entered the stretch. That foe ducked in at the eighth pole and was later disqualified to fourth and last. Avoman completed the distance in 1:52.84.
Avoman brought his record to two wins and two thirds in five starts with earnings of $137,314.
Bred in Ontario by Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, he is out of the Tethra mare Cosa Rara, also dam of stakes winners Cawaja Beach, Who's Big Daddy, and Professor's Ride. He was a US$45,096 purchase by Jim Bruce out of the Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency consignment to the 2019 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario Division) Canadian-Bred Yearling Sale.