TORONTO, ON – Mrs. Barbara M. Keller’s Blond Me made her first Canadian trip a successful one, running down Kitten’s Roar Sunday’s Grade 1, $500,000 E. P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking from post 7 under Oisin Murphy, Blond Me settled off the early pace set by Rainha Da Bateria through splits of :26.72, :52.20, and 1:17.20. Closing in through the far turn, Blond Me rallied on the stretch and took command at the 1/16 pole. The Andrew Balding-trained mare came under a drive to chase down Kitten’s Roar and cross first by a length in a final time of 2:08.08 for the 1 1/4-mile event contested over soft turf.
“We walked the track this morning,” said Balding’s wife, Anna Lisa. “I think, as everyone knows, soft ground in Canada is very different from soft ground in the U.K., so we were very happy that she acted on it today.”
Kitten’s Roar held on for second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Fourstar Crook. Rainha Da Bateria faded to fourth, with the favored Nezwaah, Quidura, and Rain Goddess completing the order of finish. Puca and Sassy Little Lila completed the order of finish.
Blond Me, one of the field’s three European invaders, had made two previous North American starts in 2015, finishing second in the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont and sixth in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Keeneland. With the win, the 5-year-old daughter of Tamayuz became a millionaire, sporting career earnings of $1,019,799 with a record of 17-6-5-0.
“It was, of course, a big wish of mine to come back and hopefully to win the race, and ‘Blondie,’ as we call her, was good enough,” Keller said.
Blond Me returned $18.90 to win, $8.30 to place, and $5.70 to show. Kitten’s Joy brought back $6.40 to place and $4 to show, while Fourstar Crook paid $4 to show.