TORONTO, October 16 — Al’s Gal, prominent throughout, held off a furious late charge from Suffused to capture the G1, $500,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine by a nose and give the United States a 1-2 sweep in the 1 ¼ turf race for fillies and mares.
There were six Europeans in the field of 12 for the E.P. Taylor but Banzarj, the only 4-year-old in that contingent, was the only one to crack the top four as she finished third at 21-1.
Best In The World, the Irish invader who was sent off as the 3-1 favorite for trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore, seemed to be in a good spot while running third on the rail.
Suffused, who been racing within striking distance in fifth, just before Banzari, with Guapaza well back in the field. There seemed to be plenty of chances turning for home but Parvaneh was hanging tough through a mile in 1:37.93 and Al’s Gal was not going away.
Al’s Gal finally hit the front heading into the final furlong and was all out to hold off Suffused with a rallying Banzari just a half-length back. Guapaza, closing strongest of all on the outside, was just another head behind in third.
Completing the order of finish were Rainha da Bateraia, Swiss Range, Nezwaah, Parvaneh, Tuttipaesi, Strut the Course, Aim to Please and Best of the World. Uchenna was scratched. The final time on a firm course was 2.01.6.
Jockey Florent Geroux is now 3-for-3 aboard Al’s Gal with their most recent collaboration a victory in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon on Sept. 15.
“There was no traffic for me today,” said Geroux. “When we broke from the gate I was right there, second position all the way and when I asked her turning from home she just gave me a nice turn of foot and was very brave.
“I don’t have any game plan especially with horses like this who are very manageable and have tactical speed.”
Jose Ortiz, aboard runner-up Suffused, was philosophical in defeat.
“I wish I could have been in the clear before but I followed the winner the whole way,” said Ortiz. ”It was very close in the end. I thought I had it but I guess the head bob went to him.”
Al’s Gal, claimed for $35,000 at Gulfstream in February of 2015, was winning her third stakes since then but her first of the graded variety.
The 5-year-old mare is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Mike Maker, the connections behind this year’s Queen’s Plate winner Sir Duddley Digges.
Al’s Gal ($14.30, $6.90, $4.50) and Suffused ($7.70, $5.60), well-supported at a respective 6-1 and 7-1, respectively, produced a 7-4 exacta worth $78.20.
The 7-4-6-11 trifecta completed by Banzari $10.40) came back at $902.00 with fourth-place Guapaza sent off at 17-1, capping a $1 superfecta returned $8,770.55.