TORONTO— Rougir (FR), was full of run late to take top prize in the Grade 1 $751,900 E.P. Taylor Stakes, Saturday at Woodbine.
The well-traveled 4-year-old chestnut filly’s first appearance at Woodbine turned out to be equal parts impressive and dramatic.
It was Adventuring, riding a two-race win streak, who went to the front in the 1 ¼-mile turf race for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, as Lemista (IRE) and Mylady (GER) picked up the chase in second and third, respectively. Rougir (FR), with Kazushi Kimura in the irons, settled into seventh of nine through an opening quarter timed in :26.78, while Queen’s Plate and Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser winner Moira, the even-money choice, sat sixth.
Adventuring held a 1 ½-length lead at the half, reached in :51.39, as Mylady (GER) and Lemista (IRE) continued to apply pressure on the frontrunner. Rougir (FR), running comfortably in seventh, was then steadied at the nine-sixteenths, causing her to get knocked off stride and seemingly out of it as the field entered the turn for home.
While Rougir (FR) looked to get back into the race, Moira was guided to the rail and began to take aim at new leader Flirting Bridge.
Midway down the lane, Rougir (FR) came running with a determined outside bid, but still had plenty of work to do as the wire drew closer.
Under urging from Kimura, the Chad Brown trainee wouldn’t be denied, getting up to notch a neck victory over Moira. A subsequent claim of foul by the rider of Lemista (IRE) demoted Moira to eighth, elevating Flirting Bridge (IRE) into second, Fev Rover (IRE) to third and Adventuring into fourth.
The final time over firm ground was 2:02.62.
“I had been struggling because this horse had moved me up so sharply that I had to pick a pathway,” said Kimura. “So, when he comes from the corner it was tremendous, I was trying so hard. I was so confident, but those horses already had experience from the long stretch.”
It was the sixth win, along with one second and three thirds, from 19 starts for Rougir (FR), bred by Jan Krauze and owned by Peter Brant and Michael Tabor. It was also the first win since a three-length triumph in the Grade 3 Beaugay on May 14 at Belmont.
After competing in France, Rougir (FR), a daughter of Territories (IRE)-Summer Moon (FR), started the North American leg of his racing career last November, with stops at Del Mar, Belmont, Saratoga, and Churchill.
Rougir (FR) paid $12.60, $6.20 and $4.10, combining with Flirting Bridge (IRE) ($8.40, $5.10) for a $103.70 exactor. The triactor with Fev Rover (IRE) ($5.20) returned $559.30 exactor. A $1 superfecta with Adventuring came back $1,893.60.
The E.P. Taylor also was the final leg of Woodbine’s “Ladies of the Lawn,” a three-race turf stakes series for fillies and mares consisting of the Dance Smartly, Canadian and E.P. Taylor.
Fev Rover (IRE), second in the Dance Smartly, winner of the Canadian, and third in the E.P. Taylor, finished with 22 points for the Ladies of the Lawn bonus prize of $50,000. Points were awarded on a 10-7-5-3-2 basis for the top five finishers in each stakes race, with one point earmarked for other also rans.
In other stakes action, Firing Bullets took the $150,900 Woodbine Cares, and Bushido took the $152,100 Ontario Racing.
Trained by Mark Casse for Gary Barber, Firing Bullets, a son of Firing Line-Twisted Beauty, got up in the final strides under Kazushi Kimura to take the Woodbine Cares, a 5-furlong Inner Turf race for 2-year-old fillies.
Fearless Angel, also from the Casse barn, was a nose back in second. No Kay Never (IRE) was third.
The final time was :58.14 over firm ground.
Firing Bullets, bred in Kentucky by Texas Star Farm, paid $15.60 for the win.
Bushido made it two straight victories to start his career, easily winning the Ontario Racing Stakes.
Trained by Darwin Banach, the son of First Samurai-Burma Road notched a 2 ¾-length score in a time of :57.52 in the 5-furlong Inner Turf race for 2-year-olds.
Bred in Kentucky by Lantern Hill Farm LLC, and owned by Bushido LLC Syndicate, Bushido paid $5.40 for the win.
The chestnut ridgling won his debut, also a 5-furlong Inner Turf race, on September 4, by 5 ¼ lengths.
As part of Woodbine’s Aftercare Day, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and LongRun Retirement Society both had representatives onsite Saturday for an afternoon that included Woodbine presenting $5,000 cheques to each charity in a winner’s circle ceremony.
Woodbine Press Release
Main photo: Rougir wins the G1 E.P. Taylor (Michael Burns)
For information on Past The Wire’s annual Breeders’ Cup Seminar, the very best in the game CLICK HERE