‘She Had A Couple Little Setbacks In The Summer’: Il Malocchio Makes The Grade In First Win Of Year In Woodbine’s Maple Leaf by Woodbine Communications Office|11.12.202211.12.2022|6:47pm6:51pm Il Malocchio. with Sahin Civaci aboard, annexes the G3 Maple Leaf Ontario-bred Il Malocchio, under Sahin Civaci, took the Grade 3 $171,300 Maple Leaf Stakes on Saturday at Woodbine. Trained by Martin Drexler for owner and breeder Franco Meli, the 4-year-old daughter of Souper Speedy was full of run down the lane to record her third career score and first graded stakes victory in the 1 ¼-mile Tapeta test for fillies and mares. Settled into fifth early, Il Malocchio, sent off at 9-1, watched an early scramble for the lead develop, as 2-1 choice Transient, with Jose Ortiz in the irons, eventually struck front after leaving from the outside post 11, and then proceeded to take her 10 rivals through an opening quarter in :23.93. Transient was a half-length on top through a half-mile reached in :47.12, while Il Malocchio, still fifth, was yet to be given her cue from Civaci. As the field turned for home after three-quarters in 1:11.82, Transient was under pressure from Angelou to her outside, while Il Malocchio kept gaining on the leaders, moving into third position at the stretch call. With Angelou and Transient matching strides, Il Malocchio blew by to earn a one-length victory in a time of 2:02.55. Angelou bested Transient by half-length for the runner-up spot, while Silent Causeway rallied from far back to secure fourth. Il Malocchio came into the Maple Leaf having gone 0-3-1 from seven starts on the season. “First of all, she's enjoying the cooler weather for sure,” Drexler said. “She had a couple little setbacks in the summer. I also thought she got the perfect trip today. It was a perfect setup right from the beginning. She sat just off the pace, there was a little bit of pace to run at, she saved ground, and the rail was good today. It just really set up for her. She's just been always on. Some days, she struggles in the heat a bit. This weather and the type of track we had today, I think she enjoyed that.” Meli, who will turn 50 on Sunday, was equally pleased with the filly who won the 2020 edition of the Victorian Queen Stakes and last year's Bison City Stakes. “For some reason, I was very confident,” Meli said. “It was the distance. The mile and a quarter I thought would really help her, and the cooler weather. I knew she had a really rough summer.” Il Malocchio, now 3-6-3 from 19 lifetime starts, paid $20.40 for the win.