Godolphin's Punctilious heads a field of 12 fillies and mares for Sunday's $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-I), at 10 furlongs on the turf at Woodbine, part of the undercard on Pattison Canadian International day.
The E.P. Taylor Stakes was increased by $250,000 and now rewards the winner with $600,000. Ten of the 12 fillies and mares will carry 123 pounds, while 3-year-olds Cassydora and Iota pack 118 pounds.
Punctilious has won two of five outings this year, including the 1 1/2-mile Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) Aug. 17 at York. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the 4-year-old English-bred daughter of Danehill finished a close second, just a half-length behind Commercante, as the even-money choice in last year's edition of the E.P. Taylor. She has won six of 14 lifetime starts and $889,038 and will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, who won the 1995 E.P. Taylor with Timarida. They go from post two as the 2-1 morning line favorite.
The 4-1 second choice is Gary Tanaka's Barancella, who'll be ridden by Edgar Prado from post four. The French-bred 4-year-old, trained by Bobby Frankel, has been away from the races since May, when she finished third to Sauvage in the Sheepshead Bay (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park. Frankel won the E.P. Taylor last year with Commercante.
The 5-1 third choice is the Todd Pletcher-trained Honey Ryder, to be ridden by John Velazquez, who was aboard Commercante in last year's renewal. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Lasting Approval has won four of six starts this year, including the Glens Falls Handicap (gr. IIIT), Sept. 5 at Saratoga, when she outbattled Breeders' Cup-bound Film Maker by a neck. Owned by John Greathouse, Honey Ryder, who'll break from post three, has banked $549,850 in her career.
Among the other Europeans contesting the E.P. Taylor are Cassydora and Latice, who last year won the French Oaks (Fr-I) at Chantilly.
Heading the Canadian contingent is headed by Bill Sorokolit's Classic Stamp, who most recently provided Woodbine's leading rider Emma-Jayne Wilson with her first stakes win in the Bell Canadian Handicap (Can-II) Sept. 18. The 5-year-old homebred daughter of Regal Classic
is also the field's leading money winner with 983,651. Last year, she finished a closing third in the E.P. Taylor, just three-quarters of a length behind.$1 Million E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-I, 3:25 p.m.), Fillies and Mares, 1 1/4 miles (turf)
1/Noble Stella/Roger Attfield/Emile Ramsammy/20-1
2/Punctilious/Saeed bin Suroor/Frankie Dettori/2-1
3/Honey Ryder/Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez/5-1
4/Barancella/Robert Frankel/Edgar Prado/4-1
5/Cassydora/Christophe Clement/Corey Nakatani/10-1
6/Latice/Jonathan Sheppard/Jose Santos/12-1
7/Ambitious Cat/Eric Coatrieux/Patrick Husbands/20-1
8/Stunning Rose/Robert Frankel/Todd Kabel/20-1
9/Classic Stamp/Darwin Banach/Emma-Jayne Wilson/12-1
10/Iota/Peter Schiergen/Mick Kinane/15-1
11/Mona Rose/Steve Attard/Jim McAleney/30-1
12/Finery/William Thurner/Javier Castellano/15-1