The Chad Brown trained Etoile looks to defend her title when she takes on nine foes in the $600,000 E.P. Taylor (G1) at Woodbine on Sunday.
The mare, who is the 5-2 morning line favorite, was the beaten chalk in the Dance Smartly (G2) in her last start. She ran second in that race last year before she prevailed by a neck at 5-2 in last year’s running of the E.P. Taylor. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the return call on the mare.
Brown also sends out Kalifornia Queen (6-1), who rallied to finish third in the Ballston Spa (G2) at Saratoga in her last outing. Flavien Prat has the ride. Brown’s third starter is Great Island (3-1), the runner up in the Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) on Sept. 4.
Trainer Christophe Clement sends a duo back to Canada after they both shipped in from New York to win stakes. La Dragontea (8-1) won the Canadian (G2) on Sept. 18 at 1 1/8 miles. Joel Rosario is in to keep the mount.
“I think she ran very well,” said Clement. “[Joel] Rosario was very confident, and she was very impressive. She’s been improving all year long.”
Mutamakina (5-1) won the Dance Smartly (G2) in her last outing on Aug. 22. Dylan Davis has ridden the mare in both of her stakes wins since arriving in the U.S. and will be aboard again.
Dance Smartly Replay
“She’s a good filly too,” Clement said. “She’s trained very well. Her last two works in New York have been good. Two weeks ago, she worked with Gufo, my good colt, and she worked as well as he did. And then I sent her out on her own with [jockey] Dylan Davis. She worked very well again. Both fillies are very sound, they look great. For me, as a trainer, it is very exciting.”
Waliyak will get the call and her 8-1 morning line looks more than fair. The Roger Varian trainee has landed in the money in 12 of her 14 career starts and is coming off a Group 3 victory at Chantilly in France in her last start.
Let’s head out to Woodbine for Sunday’s featured race of the day:
Woodbine Race 8 The E.P. Taylor G1 4:37 ET
1 Waliyak 8-1
2 Etoile 5-2
6 Mutamakina 5-1
8 Great Island 3-1
This filly comes across the pond for the Varian barn. He is coming off a Group 3 win at Chantilly in the Prix Bertrand de Tarragon going 1 1/8 miles over soft ground. She has run over any type of ground and there was some rain in the forecast so we could be less than form this afternoon. Two back in her first Group try she was off a beat slow and came with a good late run to finish in the runner up spot in the Atalanta Stakes at Sandown Park going a mile. The winner Saffron Beach came back to win the Sun Chariot Stakes (G1) next out at Newmarket on Oct. 2. The third-place finisher Ville de Grace won her next two starts, taking the listed John Musker Fillies’ Stakes at Yarmouth and then the Pony Academy Pride Stakes (G3) at Newmarket. She can handle the added ground here and is coming into this race in the best form of her career.
The Brown trainee is the defending champ. She won this race last year by a neck at 5-2 over Court Return. She came into last year’s edition off a runner up finish in the Dance Smartly (G2) here and did the same this year. Last out she stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to finish a half-length back of the winner Mutamakina at 6-5. The winner got the jump on her and just held on late. The tables can be turned on that filly here. She can handle any type of ground and Irad is up to ride the mare.
This mare picked up her second in in six starts since coming to the U.S. and landing with the Clement barn. She prompted the early pace, got clear and hold on to win the Dance Smartly by a diminishing half length. Her other win came in the Long Island (G3) at Aqueduct last November in her second start state side. She was beaten a neck and a head two back in the River Memories at 1 ½ miles and she is better at today’s 1 ¼ mile distance. She will be forwardly placed but it appears the pace will be more honest than she caught last out here.