(Edited Woodbine release)
Irish-bred Folk Opera hit the high note in the $1-million E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) at Woodbine, going wire-to-wire to earn a position in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.
The four-year-old filly is owned by Godolphin and is trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who said the Breeders’ Cup was an option.
“We could take the filly to the Breeders’ Cup after this. It will depend how she comes out of the race,” said Suroor, who trained the runner-up of the 2004 E.P. Taylor, Punctilious. Piloting the chestnut filly was Lanfranco Dettori.
Folk Opera, who traveled 1 1/4 miles on the turf in 2:03.70, finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of longshot local filly Callwood Dancer. It was another head back in third to Sealy Hill, who likely made her final start.
Dettori, who won the Taylor in 1995 with the Aga Khan’s Timarida, sent Folk Opera directly to the front, where she carved out a first quarter in :26.41 over the ‘firm’ course. The world-class jockey thought the early split was quite generous.
“It was a gift,” said Dettori, who continued up the backstretch in a half in :51.55 and three-quarters in 1:16.66. “I was pleased with her going into the first fifth of the race. I knew she would be very hard to catch.”
Suroor said he believed Folk Opera had a class edge on the field.
“Folk Opera is a different class, really, than all of the fillies in this race,” declared bin Suroor. “She ran and won a Group 2 in France last time. Today was perfect for her – the ground and the distance. We told Frankie (Dettori) just to keep her close because that is what she likes.”
Folk Opera, who earned $600,000 for the victory, is a daughter of Singspiel, who won the 1996 Canadian International at Woodbine with Gary Stevens in the irons. She is now a five-time winner in 11 starts.
Folk Opera returned $5.10, $3.80, $2.70, combining with Callwood Dancer ($9.20, $6.10) for a $51.90 exactor. Sealy Hill ($5.70) rounded out a triactor worth $300.80. J’ray completed a $1 superfecta worth $630.70.