The wide open 2-year-old filly picture in Canada should come into clearer focus on Sunday when eight compete in the season's most important race in the division, the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Woodbine.
The Princess Elizabeth, a 1 1/16-mile event, has attracted Muskoka Stakes winner Santerra, winners Mountain Dawn, Speak Out and Clair De Lune, and New York-based Promenade Road.
Perhaps, the most promising horse in the field, though, is Santerra, owned by Ted Burnett and trained by Mike Mattine. The daughter of Tejabo has a stakes win (on September 2) and fine efforts in two other added money events (third in the Nandi on July 27 and fourth in the Shady Well on July 7).
"She won the Muskoka at seven eighths, but (the Princess Elizabeth) is around two turns and she'll appreciate that mile and a sixteenth," Mattine said. "She has lots of stamina, the further the race, the better. If we get a clean trip, she'll be tough to beat.
Mattine, who is having a terrific meet with 14 wins and $620,177 in purse earnings, says that Santerra is in better form now than before her Muskoka victory. "She's woken up since that last race, she's using her nice long stride. She's training well. She's in good order, good shape going into the race."
Santerra, the first foal out of the mare Sioux City, was thought to be a two-turn horse by her owner and trainer when they first laid eyes on her. Having sprinted four times in her career, she is now set for a route distance.
As for her future, being Canadian-bred, Mattine is cautiously looking at the Labatt Woodbine Oaks, the lucrative event for the best Canadian 3-year-old fillies, for his prized prospect.
"We're pointing her to the Oaks, she'll get the distance, but that's next year. We'll take it step by step."
Todd Kabel, who leads the colony with 16 stakes wins, gets the call aboard Santerra, in search of his second Princess Elizabeth Stakes. He tallied the 1998 edition aboard Bag Lady Jane.
Promenade Road, trained by Todd Pletcher in New York, is expected to arrive at Woodbine from Saratoga on Saturday.$250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, 1 1/16 mile, 2-year-old fillies
1/Promenade Road/Robert Landry/Todd Pletcher
2/Asmokeafterdinner/Dino Luciani/David Guitard
3/Kabeeb/James McAleney/Roger Attfield
4/Speak Out/Richard Dos Ramos/Roger Attfield
5/Arch of Triumph/Patrick Husbands/Mark Casse
6/Mountain Dawn/Na Somsanith/Mac Benson
7/Clair de Lune/Slade Callaghan/Roger Attfield
8/Santerra/Todd Kabel/Mike Mattine
All carry 119 pounds.