10/22/2006 11:00PM

Arravale won't enter Breeders' Cup


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The sky could be the limit for Arravale, who earned her second Grade 1 victory when she defeated a solid field of fillies and mares in Sunday's $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes over 1 1/4 miles of soft turf at Woodbine.

Arravale, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly who is owned by Bob Costigan and trained here by Mac Benson, also had captured the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in her second trip of the season to California on July 2.

Even before her impressive performance in the E.P. Taylor, Arravale also had been under serious consideration for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. All the arrangements were in place pending the final word on Monday morning.

Following a night of soul-searching, Benson and Costigan decided Arravale would not be pre-entered in the 1 3/8-mile Filly and Mare Turf.

"I just can't see taking the chance, running a filly of this caliber, and trying to come back in 13 days off a really hard race at a new distance," said Benson.

"It's very tempting, but you're in the business to try and do what's right for the horse and make decisions based on reality. As a 3-year-old, she's got next year, and the year after next."

Arravale still has plenty of options this fall, including the Japan Cup at Tokyo, the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin, and the Hollywood Derby or Matriarch at Hollywood Park.

Costigan and Benson, however, are in no hurry to pursue any of those avenues.

"We're just going to enjoy this one, let it sink in for a while," said Costigan.

Win has special meaning for Benson

Benson has been based here for almost 30 years, with his career highlights including Queen's Plate wins with Regal Embrace in 1978 and La Lorgnette in 1985 for Windfields Farm, which was founded by the late E.P. Taylor.

Arravale's win occupies a special place in both his portfolio and his heart.

"This is the biggest, and the most sentimental win, of my career," said Benson. "To be able to win a race named after E.P Taylor . . ."

Arravale's success in the E.P. Taylor also makes her a virtual certainty for the Sovereign Award title as this year's female turf champion and the favorite for Canadian Horse of the Year honors.

The E.P. Taylor was Arravale's third start in Canada this season, the minimum requirement for Sovereign Award eligibility, and Costigan acknowledged that was a factor in the filly's presence here on Sunday.

Arravale had had a longstanding invitation to the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge, a $500,000 turf race for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland on Oct. 14.

Inish Glora, owned by Costigan and trained by Benson, was Canada's champion turf female in 2003 and 2004 but was unsuccessful in two cracks at the E.P. Taylor.