A field of 10 led by the European invader Red Tea square off on Saturday at Woodbine in the $600,000 E.P. Taylor (G1) at 1 ¼ miles on the turf.
The Joseph O’Brien trainee has won two of six starts this year including the Group 2 Kilboy Stakes (G2) and was third behind the talented Coronet in the Prix Jean Romanet (G1) in her last outing.
European invaders have dominated this race in recent years including Sheikha Reika, who won last year for trainer Roger Varian and Bond Me in 2017 for trainer Andrew Balding.
The E.P. Taylor is one of three graded stakes on the 12-race card at Woodbine. The others are the $800,000 Pattison Canadian International (G1) and the $250,000 Nearctic (G2).
The Jimmy Jerkens trained Holy Helena, who was fourth in the Canadian (G2) last out may be worth a look at a decent price. She is a three-time winner at the 1 ¼ mile distance. Rafael Hernandez has the return call on the 2017 Queen’s Plate winner.
“I think the extra distance will suit her well,” said Hernandez. “Her works are awesome, as usual.”
Starship Jubilee took the Canadian field gate to wire and was fourth in the E.P. Taylor last year for trainer Kevin Attard.
“She has been a wonderful mare,” said Attard. “She gives it her all each time you lead her over to the post. She’s not a big horse, but she has the heart of a lion. It’s been a real privilege to train her.”
The Patterson Canadian International drew a field of six led by Ziyad, who won the Grand Prix de Deauville (G1) in his last outing. The gelding is the even money favorite on the morning line.
The Nearctic drew a field of nine that will go six furlongs on turf. The Mark Casse trained Blind Ambition is the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Let’s head out to Woodbine for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Woodbine Race 8 The E.P. Taylor (G1) Post time 5:05 ET
2 Red Tea 3-1
5 Holy Helena 10-1
8 Starship Jubilee 7-2
1 Gaining 10-1
The Joseph O’Brien trainee invades from overseas and is coming off a good effort in a third-place finish in the Prix Jean Romanet (G1) at Deauville over soft ground at 1 ¼ miles. She was beaten by 2 ½ lengths by Coronet, who came into that race off a win in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint Cloud. Our top pick won the Kilboy Estate Stakes (G2) two back at the Curragh going nine furlongs. She adds lasix to the mix, and we have seen Euro shippers with lesser credentials be very competitive in North America this year. She has enough pedigree to get the 1 ¼ miles. By Sakhee out of a Pivotal mare. She has run well on ground with some give to it and there is some rain in the forecast leading up to the race.
This filly is better than her fourth in the Canadian (G2) last out at nine furlongs over yielding ground. The mare won the Dance Smartly (G2) over the turf here at this distance two back and has won three times at 1 ¼ miles in her career on turf. She has not had success in Grade 1 company, but this race did not come up as tough as in recent years and she looks capable of moving forward off her last effort which was off a 2 ½ month break. Decent value if she goes off near her 10-1 morning line.
The six-year-old mare earned a near career top speed fig in her gate to wire score in the Canadian last out, her fifth win in a dozen trips over the turf here. Her career top came in the Canadian last year and she then regressed in a fourth-place finish in this race, beaten 1 ½ lengths. She does not need the lead and showed some late run two back in a runner up finish in the Dance Smartly (G2) three back and a u third in the Ballston Spa (G2) two back. She fits here with her best but not sure she is going to offer much value for the top spot.
WIN: Red Tea to win at 5-2 or better.
EXACTA: 2,5 / 1,2,5,8
TRIFECTA: 2,5 / 1,2,5,8 / 1,2,5,8,10