● Dixie Moon was mighty in the Oaks and now she'll seek to be great in the Plate. Bred and owned by Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry, 'Dixie' comes into the Gallop for the Guineas off a splendid effort in the Woodbine Oaks on June 29, a gutsy head score over fellow Plate starter Wonder Gadot. Can she notch another big win this Sunday?
● "She had a nice, clean trip and she just gave it her all," said trainer Catherine Day Phillips of the Oaks triumph. "Her biggest strength is in her heart. She's just a lovely filly."
● The daughter of Curlin began in her career in style, driving clear in the seven-furlong main track race on August 19, 2017. After finishing second in her next start, the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes, Dixie Moon landed in the winner's circle in the Cup & Saucer Stakes.
● Then it was on to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar. Steadied early, the chestnut finished sixth after a difficult trip in the Grade 1 event. "Dixie is very smart and she is able to handle new situations with confidence," offered Day Phillips. "She handled flying to California like a true professional."
● After her impressive Oaks score, there's no denying she's at the top of her game. Can she come up with her best in front of the Woodbine masses? "From day 1, she always had a special aura about her," said Day Phillips. "As she trained and started breezing she kept affirming our hopes. As she has developed as a racehorse, she has continued to strengthen both physically and mentally."
Owner – Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry
Sean Fitzhenry retired from a career in commercial real estate to take on the challenging business of breeding horses some nearly 20 years ago. Fitzhenry and his wife, Dorothy, breed their mares to Kentucky stallions and enter their progeny in sales there with those who are not sold returning to Ontario to race for the couple. Guy Caballero was their first stakes winner as sole owners, although Sean Fitzhenry was a partner in stakes winner Get Rhythm three years back. The best horse to date bred by the Fitzhenrys has been Marketing Mix, who sold for $150,000 at Keeneland and went on to be a dual Grade 1 winner of more than $2 million. Last year, the couple posted 10 wins, five seconds and a third from 24 starts, accompanied by $637,382 in purse earnings.
Trainer – Catherine Day Phillips
Catherine Day Phillips comes by her profession honestly. Her father, Jim Day, and late mother, Dinny Day, both were thoroughbred trainers and her maternal grandmother, the late Janet Burns, was the founder of Kingfield Farm, which remains the domain of Day Phillips and her husband, Todd Phillips. Day Phillips saddled her first winner in June of 1994. Since then, the stable has expanded and major success stories include A Bit O' Gold, who was Canada's horse of the year, champion older horse and champion turf horse in 2005 after landing 3-year-old honors the previous season; Jambalaya, winner of the Grade 1 Arlington Million in 2007 after giving Day Phillips her first Grade 1 score earlier that year in the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap; and Van Lear Rose, the Sovereign Award 2-year-old filly in 2008. She also campaigned Neshama to 2016 Woodbine Oaks glory.
Jockey – Eurico Rosa Da Silva
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Eurico Rosa da Silva got his start in his homeland before moving to Macau. He counts the Brazil Derby, a two-mile Group 1 turf race, among his most memorable scores early in his career. The 42-year-old reinsman came to Woodbine in 2004 and has enjoyed tremendous success since. He was a part of the Horse of the Year campaigns by Pink Lloyd (2017), Up with the Birds (2013), Biofuel (2010) and Fatal Bullet (2008). Da Silva took home Sovereign Award honours as Outstanding Jockey in 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Last August, he won the World All Star Jockeys Championship as Canada's representative in Japan. Da Silva will celebrate his 43rd birthday the day before the Queen's Plate.