Fraulein, an 11-1 outsider and the second longest price in a select field of six fillies and mares, scored a major upset in the $837,750 E.P. Taylor Stakes (gr. IT) Sunday at Woodbine.
At the finish of the 1 1/4-mile classic, contested over a turf course listed as yielding, Fraulein and red-hot jockey Kevin Darley prevailed by one length over a closing Alasha. The even money favorite, Volga, wound up third, a further length back.
Defending champion Choc Ice was a non-threatening fourth.
The final time of 2:10.03 was one of the slowest clockings since the race became a turf event in 1968.
Nadia and jockey Corey Nakatani assumed an early lead and proceeded to walk through the first quarter in 29.70, the half in 57.93. Darley then sent Fraulein up to challenge Nadia as the duo matched strides through a pedestrian six furlongs in 1:23.33.
In behind the top pair, Volga, with Jerry Bailey, and second choice Alasha, ridden by Johnny Murtagh, began to gear up coming off the far turn as the field straightened for home.
Nearing the sixteenth pole, Fraulein, along the rail, drew clear and withstood a last ditch challenge from Alasha on the outside as Volga, in third, drove inside of a fading Nadia but couldn't close the gap.
Benefitting from the weight-for-age conditions and the yielding turf, both Fraulein and Alasha carried 117 pounds as the only 3-year-olds in the race, while the others lugged 123 pounds.
It was the second win (her first Grade I) in seven starts this year for the Cliveden Stud-owned, British-bred Fraulein, a daughter of Acatenango. The result was also a complete reversal of fortunes for trainer Edward Dunlop, who saddled Cayman Sunset to a last place finish in the 2001 E.P. Taylor.
"My filly gets a mile and a half. We literally walked for the first three-quarters of a mile," said Darley, who has enjoyed remarkable recent success. He won his first classic (Group I) with Bollin Eric at Doncaster Sept. 14 in the Rothmans Royals St. Leger, then upset the highly-regarded Hawk Wing with Where or When in the Group I Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Saturday at Ascot.
"When I saw there was a gap on the inside, my filly quickened to get there and then she stays on. I thought that if I don't give her clear run, when we get in the straight, I'll be stuck for turn of foot. I just edged up the inside and when I asked her she lengthened her gallop all the way to the line. She stayed. Thankfully she just held on, " he continued.
Added assistant trainer Peter Boothman, "(The fractions) didn't really worry me at all as long as they did go eventually, because she does have a great turn of foot and when she kicks on, and got those three or four lengths on them, that meant they would have a tough time to try and catch her. That (Kevin Darley's move around the far turn) won the race for us."
Boothman also indicated that Fraulein would now head to Belmont Park in New York for the $100,000 Pebbles Stakes (gr. III) on Oct. 14.
By winning the E.P. Taylor, the fourth richest race in Canada behind only the Canadian International, Queen's Plate and Atto Mile, Fraulein earned a purse of $502,650, a five-fold increase over her career earnings of just $97,337, prior to today's jackpot.
Fraulein returned a healthy $24.40, $9.50 and $4.50 across the board, combining with the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Alasha ($5.90, $4.10) for a $112.60 exacta. A 1-6-5 trifecta (with Volga, $2.30 to show) paid $260.30.