For what we lacked in Breeders' Cup prep races, we made up for in turf racing this weekend. Here's your weekend stakes wrap-up!
E. P. Taylor Stakes (G1T) at Woodbine
RED TEA went to the front to set the pace followed by STARSHIP JUBILEE stalking. Early fractions were :26.50 and :52.07.IMPERIAL CHARM and HOLY HELENA followed the pair running well trading positions as they came to the half-mile. RED TEA still led by a head until the turn when STARSHIP JUBILEE made her move and took off down the stretch creating a two-length distance. PLATANE tried desperately to catch her but STARSHIP JUBILEE was ahead by a length taking the win with a final time of 2:03.39. Place was a photo finish with DURANCE barely edging ahead of PLATANE.
There was a steward's inquiry looking at the first turn, but concluded no change. This was the first grade 1 win for trainer Kevin Attard and the filly.
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1T) at Keeneland
A moderate pace was set in the 1 1/8th mile turf race, allowing CAMBIER PARC to slow the tempo running the half-mile in :49.18 and save her energy for the stretch. Stalked by MAGNETIC CHARM, she left the turn and headed for home repeling an early stretch bid from CASTLE LADY. Unable to keep up, CASTLE LADY finished second behind CAMBIER PARC and PRINCESA CAROLINA came in third 1 3/4 lengths behind.
Nearctic Stakes (G2T) at Woodbine
YORKTON went to the lead in the Nearctic Stakes from the outside post and setting quick fractions of :22.54 and :45.13. RICHIESINTHEHOUSE settled in second two lengths behind. At the quarter mile, he moved up to a length behind. While YORKTON lost steam in the stretch, RICHIESINTHEHOUSE and CITY BOY passed him on the outside. On the far outside was RECONFIGURE ranging up on CITY BOY'S right. It was a three horse photo finish at the wire, but CITY BOY got his head down to take the win in the six furlong turf race with a final time of 1:08.18. RECONFIGURE pulled out the place with RICHIESINTHEHOUSE finishing third.
This was CITY BOY'S first trip to the winner's circle since August 2017 when he won an allowance race at Woodbine. He only started twice the following spring and. After an 11 month layoff, he hit the board in three of four starts before the Nearctic and pulled off the 24-1 upset with this stakes win.
$203,200 Sands Point Stakes (G2T) at Belmont
SOUPER ESCAPE set the pace with a good three-length lead running into the backstretch. DYNA PASSER shortened the lead to two lengths, followed by LEDECKA. NEW AND IMPROVED sat back in tenth as they came to the far turn. Turning for home, NEW AND IMPROVE came from the outside six paths wide. FEEL GLORIOUS also got up to pass the leader. The pair urged passed BATED BREATH who tried to get ahead in front, but the pair edged away. NEW AND IMPROVED took the win as the 8-5 favorite. FEEL GLORIOUS held on for second followed by ROMANTIC PURSUIT in third. The final time was 1:48.44.
$800,000 Pattison Canadian International Stakes (G1T) at Woodbine
DESERT ENCOUNTER jumped a bit slow from the gates in the Canadian International and ZIYAD went to the rail leading the field with PUMPKIN RUMBLE and PIVOINE following. NESSY sat in fourth ahead of ALOUNAK and DESERT ENCOUNTER took up the rear.
Heading into the mile marker, the order hadn't changed but ZIYAD was feeling the pressure of ALOUNAK and DESERT ENCOUNTER wound up from behind. Splitting foes and getting up by a half-length, the 7-year-old pulled out the win with a final time of 2:28.62. ALOUNAK finished second over ZIYAD by a neck.