10/25/2013 12:54PM

Woodbine: Tannery looks to break through in E.P. Taylor Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Tannery, coming off a pair of solid Grade 1 turf efforts in New York, looms as the one to beat in Sunday’s $500,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes.

The Grade 1 E.P. Taylor, the 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares that is the companion feature to the Canadian International, attracted 10 entrants – three U.S. invaders, three European shippers, and four locally based runners.

Tannery also was nominated to the Grade 1 Canadian International, and trainer Alan Goldberg considered tackling males there.

“I think she probably likes a mile and a half more, but she might not like the company as much,” Goldberg said from his Colts Neck Farm in New Jersey.

Tannery closed strongly last out to finish second behind her streaking stablemate, the Breeders’ Cup-bound Laughing, in Belmont’s Flower Bowl Invitational at 1 1/4 miles on Sept. 28. Six weeks earlier, Tannery finished a close fourth behind Breeders’ Cup Turf candidates Big Blue Kitten and Twilight Eclipse in Saratoga’s Sword Dancer at 1 1/2 miles.

“She’s really good right now,” Goldberg said. “I think she’s going to run a good race up there. I think that long stretch will be great for her. Hopefully, she’s not too far out of it turning for home and she can make a good run.”

Joel Rosario will ride Tannery for the first time Sunday.

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Minakshi and Colonial Flag, based in Fair Hill, Md., with trainer Michael Matz, are returning after running first and second in the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on firm turf here Sept. 15.

“They’ve both been doing well and deserve a chance,” said Matz, who sent out Princess Haya to finish third in the 2009 E.P. Taylor after winning the Canadian.

Minakshi is proven at 1 1/4 miles, having finished a close fourth in Belmont’s Grade 2 New York and second in that track’s Owsley Stakes in two previous North American tries at the distance. The 5-year-old mare also ran third in Belmont’s Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay over 1 3/8 miles of soft going in May.

The 4-year-old Colonial Flag, on the other hand, was well beaten in last year’s Grade 1 American Oaks at Betfair Hollywood Park in her only try at 1 1/4 miles.

Last out, Colonial Flag rallied from last place in the field of nine to fall a half-length shy of her stablemate in the Canadian.

“The way she was closing last time, I think it shouldn’t be a problem, especially the way she’s bred,” Matz said of the E.P. Taylor’s 1 1/4-mile distance.

Leading local rider Luis Contreras retains the mount on Minakshi, while Julien Leparoux gets the call on Colonial Flag.

The Irish-breds Moment In Time and Fitful Skies and the German-bred Samba Brazil, all coming off races in Europe, add to the international flavor of the E.P. Taylor. Fitful Skies and Moment In Time will be racing with Lasix for the first time.

Fitful Skies is trained by Henri-Alex Pantall, who sent out Pagera to run second in last year’s E.P. Taylor in her first start with Lasix. Fitful Skies and Pagera had won the same Group 3 race in Germany prior to the E.P. Taylor.

Moment In Time, freshened since finishing sixth in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks on Aug. 22, is trained by David Simcock. I’m A Dreamer ran second in the 2011 E.P. Taylor for Simcock while making her first start on Lasix.

Samba Brazil will be stretching out after finishing fourth against males in a one-mile, Group 1 race in Italy. She is a half-sister to Group 1 winner Seismos, who will run Sunday in the Canadian International.

The locally based entrants are Moment of Majesty and No Explaining, the third- and sixth-place finishers in the Canadian for trainer Roger Attfield; Irish Mission, last year’s Sovereign Award-winning 3-year-old filly and turf female who was cross-entered in the Canadian International by trainer Mark Frostad; and Nancy O, a last-out maiden winner for conditioner Carolyn Costigan.

John Velazquez rides Moment of Majesty, who could be sitting on a big race in her third outing for the Attfield barn.

“I know her now, and I think she’s in really good shape,” said Attfield, who took over as the 6-year-old mare’s trainer this summer. “I couldn’t be happier with her.”

No Explaining and Nancy O galloped on the E.P. Taylor turf course Friday.