Laughing returns to Woodbine for the first time since last fall's E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) as the likely favorite in the $300,000 Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT) on the turf Sept. 16.
The Irish-bred filly is part of a well-matched field of nine older fillies and mares in the 1 1/8-mile turf event, a major prep for the E.P. Taylor, which is Oct. 14. The Canadian Stakes is part of a big Sunday card at Woodbine headlined by the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Can-IT). The Canadian is race 5 with a scheduled post time of 3:05 p.m. EDT.
Richard Santulli's Laughing comes into the race off a one-length tally as the 6-5 favorite in the Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park July 29 at the Canadian distance. Trained by Alan Goldberg, the 4-year-old daughter of Dansili has won two of four starts in North America since her transfer. She finished seventh in last year's 10-furlong E.P. Taylor at 13-1 odds, gradually weakening after showing early speed on a yielding course.
New Jersey-based Laughing has rebounded to win two of three starts in 2012, the lone blemish coming in a third-place finish in the Gallorette Stakes (gr. III) at Pimlico Race Course May 19.
Luis Contreras will be aboard Laughing for the first time. They will break from post 2 with 119 pounds.
Gerald Gibbs' Ontario homebred All Star Heart, also carrying 119, ships in from Southern California for Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally. The 5-year-old daughter of Arch lost a heartbreaking nose decision to City to City in the John C. Mabee Stakes (gr. IIT) in her most recent start Aug. 12 at Del Mar.
All Star Heart was a grade II winner at Santa Anita Park last fall and won the one-mile Redondo Beach at Betfair Hollywood Park in her first start of her current campaign June 10. Regular rider Brice Blanc will follow the bay mare to Toronto for the Canadian. All Star Heart has had a published workout over the course Sept. 12, breezing five panels in 1:01 4/5 with dogs up. She had two starts on the Woodbine lawn as a maiden in 2010 and failed to hit the board.
Stars to Shine, trained by Mark Frostad for The Grange House Partnership, ran a game third in last year's Canadian, finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Never Retreat. The 5-year-old Tale of the Cat mare won her first two starts of 2012, including the Ontario Matron (Can-III) over Woodbine's Polytrack July 22, but was overmatched in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) last time out, finishing ninth.
Also coming out of the Aug. 18 Beverly D. is German-bred Kapitale, who ran fourth in her United States debut that day at Arlington Park for trainer Andreas Wohler. The 4-year-old Dubawi filly was a group III winner on yielding turf at Cologne a year ago.
Multiple group stakes-placed Barefoot Lady, an Irish-bred, ships in from Great Britain to make her North American debut for trainer Richard Fahey. To be ridden by Jamie Spencer, the 4-year-old daughter of Footstepsinthesand won a minor stakes at York in July before finishing fourth in a group III event there Aug. 24.
Moment of Majesty deserves an outsider's look for trainer and co-owner Sue Leslie. The 5-year-old daughter of Saint Liam won the seven-furlong Zadracarta for Ontario-breds on the turf in June and came back with a fine second to Marketing Mix in the Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT) at nine furlongs July 8. In her most recent start Aug. 19, she captured the Belle Mahone Stakes on Polytrack.
A pair of homebreds, Stronach Stables' grade III winner Smart Sting, and Eugene Melnyk's stakes winner Indian Pond, are also in good form and capable of scoring in this spot. Shimmering Moment, second to Laughing in the Matchmaker, completes the field.
$300,000 Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT, Race 5, 3:05p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Moment of Majesty (ON), G Olguin, 115, S Leslie
2. Laughing (IRE), L Contreras, 119, A E Goldberg
3. Stars to Shine (KY), A O Solis, 119, M R Frostad
4. Barefoot Lady (IRE), J P Spencer, 117, R Fahey
5. All Star Heart (ON), B Blanc, 119, R L McAnally
6. Shimmering Moment (KY), S Russell, 115, F Abbott III
7. Smart Sting (KY), J R Velazquez, 117, R L Attfield
8. Indian Pond (ON), E R Da Silva, 115, M E Casse
9. Kapitale (GER), M Demuro, 117, A Woehler