Embur's Song, who lost for the first time when third in last month's Woodbine Oaks as the 2-5 choice, returns for the second leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara, the $250,000 Bison City Stakes at Woodbine July 11.
Just five Canadian-foaled 3-year-old fillies are entered in the the Bison City, which is contested at 1 1/16 miles over Woodbine's Polytrack. It is the sixth race on the program with a probable post of 3:31 p.m. EDT.
Three of the entrants ran in the nine-furlong Woodbine Oaks June 13, but the first two finishers in that race, the victorious Roan Inish and Moment of Majesty, ran back in the July 4 Queen's Plate. Roan Inish finished third in the Plate while Moment of Majesty faded to eighth.
Their absence should make things considerably easier for Embur's Song, who is owned by Fares Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher. In the Oaks, the Ontario-bred daughter of Unbridled's Song set a stiff pace while opening up a big lead for jockey Garrett Gomez in the stretch. But she could not hold on in the late going and finished 1 1/2 lengths behind the fast-closing Roan Inish.
That was the first loss in three starts for Embur's Song and Pletcher admitted before the race that the Oaks was coming up a little quicker than he would have preferred. Embur's Song had defeated a first-level allowance field by nearly four lengths in her first route try three weeks earlier, coming within a tick of the Woodbine track record for 1 1/16 miles.
Embur’s Song debuted at Keeneland April 17 with a smashing 13 1/4-length romp in a seven-furlong maiden contest.
Bred by Josham Farms, Embur’s Song is out of the Bold Ruckus mare Embur Sunshine.
With Gomez back to ride, she she should be flying from the rail in the Bison City and will attempt to dictate terms throughout.
Trainer Roger Attfield is seeking his record-tying fourth win in the Bison City with Ernfold, who breaks from the far outside with regular rider James McAleney. A win for Attfield, who last won the race in 1993 with Hey Hazel, would tie him with John Passero and James Day for most victories.
James and Susan Hill's Ernfold, an Ontario-bred who is by Stormy Atlantic --Wynyard, by Mr. Greeley, could not overcome a slow start and a wide trip in the Woodbine Oaks and finished a distant fifth. Sent off at 6-1 odds, it is the only out-of-the-money performance in the dark bay filly's seven-race career.
While still in search of her first stakes win, Ernfold has been stakes-placed on three occasions, including a runner-up effort to Biofuel in the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette May 23. Ernfold showed good speed in that race and opened up a two-length advantage in the stretch before coming up a length shy.
Trainer Reade Baker, who won the 2004 Bison City with Touchnow and in 1999 with Synchronized, has two more opportunities this year. Thorn Flower and Free Fee Lady are both last-out maiden winners at Woodbine.
Stronach Stables' homebred Thorn Flower, a daughter of Montjeu out of the Red Ransom mare Champagne Cocktail, took six starts to find the winner's circle. She finally scored as the odds-on choice June 23 in a 1 1/16-mile maiden test at Woodbine that she won by 2 1/2 lengths. She was second in three of her four prior starts, all at route distances, and third the other time.
Three days before Thorn Flower fired, Harlequine Ranches' Free Fee Lady tallied in a seven-furlong maiden event by 1 1/2 lengths in her second start. The Alberta-bred Victory Gallop filly was second by a neck in her debut a month earlier, also at seven furlongs. She'll be trying two turns for the first time.
The maiden Oil Painting ran fourth in the Woodbine Oaks at 23-1, beaten by 10 lengths. Trained by Josie Carroll for Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Glenn Sikura, the well-bred daughter of Distorted Humor out of the A.P. Indy mare Handpainted ran third in the May 1 Fury Stakes at seven furlongs. She has two defeats by a nose and a head against maiden competition during her seven-race career and will don blinkers for the first time.
$250,000 Bison City Stakes (Race 6, 3:31 p.m.), 3YO Fillies Foaled in Canada, 1 1/16 Miles (Synthetic)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Embur's Song (ON), G K Gomez, T A Pletcher
2. Oil Painting (ON), P Husbands, J Carroll
3. Thorn Flower (ON), E Wilson, R Baker
4. Free Fee Lady (AB), E Wilson, R Baker
5. Ernfold (ON), J McAleney, R L Attfield
All carry 121 pounds.
Blinkers On: Oil Painting