Nine Vie for Breeders Cup Berth in Canadian
No Explaining, British newcomer Ladys First, and Solid Appeal head the field for the 59th renewal of the $300,000 Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine Sept. 15.
Nine fillies and mares will contest 1 1/8 miles over the Ontario lawn while Harlequin Ranches' No Explaining and Mrs. H. Steel's Ladys First both vie for consecutive wins.
The Canadian Stakes, a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" event, awards the winner an automatic berth and travel expenses for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) held Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park.
Roger Attfield trains the 6-year-old Irish mare No Explaining, who comes into race off an allowance score over Woodbine's turf rated "good" Aug. 3. A grade III winner of the Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Pimlico Race Course as a 4-year-old, the Canadian is her fourth start this year, which includes a third in Woodbine's Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT) behind rival Solid Appeal two starts back.
Attfield taps John Velasquez on No Explaining, who will break from post 2.
In her first North American outing, Richard Fahey trainee Ladys First comes to the Canadian with deep stakes experience and fresh off a win in the Thoroughbred Breeders Association Atalanta Stakes (Eng-IIIT) at Sandown Park Aug. 31. She also scored in last summer's British Stallion Studs Dick Hern E.B.F. Fillies' Stakes at Haydock Park and placed in eight other stakes events, including four group races.
Tony Hamilton has the mount on Ladys First as she breaks from the post 4.
A dual-grade II winner, Jim and Susan Hill's Solid Appeal has been victorious in three of her four starts this year, which include wins in the Nassau Stakes (Can-IIT) and the Dance Smartly both at the Ontario track. Reade Baker trains the Successful Appeal filly, who has run in the money in nine of her 15 starts.
Solid Appeal drew post position 3 and Jesse Campbell will be in the irons as part of the 4-year-old filly's top weight of 121 pounds.
Last year's Arlington Oaks (gr. III) winner La Tia enters the Canadian looking to improve off her fifth-place finish in the Aug. 17 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park. So far in 2013, the City Place filly has notched an allowance win and a score in the June 15 Lincoln Heritage Handicap, as well as a third in the Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT), all at the Illinois oval.
In her only other visit to Woodbine La Tia scored in last year's 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette Stakes. Trainer Armando De la cerda sends out the 4-year-old from the outside post 9 with Kent Desormeaux aboard.
Trainer Michael Matz counts two trainees in the Canadian field: Pleasant Tap filly Colonial Flag, who goes out for Skara Glen Stable, W. S. Farish, and ENL Stables; and French mare Minakshi, who seeks her first North American win for owners Northern Bloodstock.
Grade III winner of Woodbine's Ontario Colleen Stakes in August 2012, Colonial Flag has since registered two thirds and a win from five starts. Most recently the 4-year-old took the Rosenna Stakes at Delaware Park Aug. 17. Joe Rocco, Jr., who rode Colonial Flag to her Colleen Stakes score, will ride from post 7.
Minakshi, multiple times stakes-placed, makes her fifth start this side of the Atlantic in the hopes of capturing that elusive stakes score. In her U.S. starts this year the Footstepsinthesand filly has been in the money three times: a second in the Owsley Stakes, a third in the Sheephead Bay (gr. IIT), both over the Belmont Park lawn, and a most recently a third in the Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park. David Moran has the call on Minakshi, who will break from the rail.
Attfield also sends out 6-year-old stakes winner Moment of Majesty for owner Regis Racing. The Saint Liam mare has the most experience at Woobine and counts three wins at her home track. Moment of Majesty comes into the Canadian off a third in this year's edition of the Belle Mahone Aug. 25. Emma-Jayne Wilson will ride the bay mare, who drew post 6.
Pure Blue Sky and Meri Shika, both grade III-placed winners, round out the field. Purim filly Pure Blue Sky is a Woodbine regular with four wins at the Ontario oval. A third Attfield entrant, French filly Meri Shika, makes her first start this side of the Atlantic for owner Stella Perdomo.
$300,000 (Plus $60,000-State Bred) Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT, Race 5, approximate post time 2:59 p.m. EDT) Fillies & Mares, 3YOs & Up, 1 1/8 miles. (Turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Minakshi (FR), L Contreras, 113, M R Matz
2. No Explaining (IRE), J R Velazquez, 113, R L Attfield
3. Solid Appeal (KY), J M Campbell, 121, R Baker
4. Ladys First (GB), T Hamilton, 119, R Fahey
5. Pure Blue Sky (KY), J Stein, 113, S Di Pasquale
6. Moment of Majesty (ON), E Wilson, 113, R L Attfield
7. Colonial Flag (KY), J Rocco, Jr., 117, M R Matz
8. Meri Shika (FR), D Moran, 108, R L Attfield
9. La Tia (IL), K J Desormeaux, 115, A De la cerda
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