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TORONTO, ON – Blue Heaven Farm’s Starship Jubilee, who was caught late after leading much of last year’s edition, had enough left this time to outlast her foes and win Saturday’s $600,000 E. P. Taylor Stakes (G1) at Woodbine.
Breaking alertly from post 8 under Luis Contreras as the 7/2 second choice, Starship Jubilee was able to cross over several of her inner foes and sit in the two-path as the field traversed the elbow turn. Just to her inside, the 3/1 favorite Red Tea held the lead after exiting from post 2 and forcing the rail-breaking Gaining into the inner guard.
With Starship Jubilee just to her outside, Red Tea posted leisurely opening fractions of :26.50, :52.07, and 1:17.34. Contreras waited until halfway through the far turn before moving his mare up to take the lead.
Straightening for home with a slight advantage, Starship Jubilee had more than enough left to withstand late runs from several foes. The Kevin Attard trainee crossed a length clear while never asked for her best in a final time of 2:03.29 for the 1 1/4-mile event over the yielding outer turf course.
“Today, (Attard) told me if they want to give you the lead, take the lead, but she didn’t need the lead to win this race,” Contreras said. “This filly came out really well-trained and she was amazing today. She always gives me something, no matter what, at the end, and I just was so comfortable on the last turn. When I saw no one was coming close to us on the front end, I was just waiting for the stretch to make a run, and she just exploded.”
Durance rallied along the rail in the stretch to take second by a head over Platane, who tried in vain to make a late outside run. Imperial Charm completed the superfecta in fourth, while Holy Helena was fifth, a neck and a nose over Si Que Es Buena and Gaining, respectively.
A spent Red Tea finished ahead of A. A. Azula’s Arch and a never-involved Secret Message to complete the order of finish.
Starship Jubilee’s win, her first in a Grade 1 event, was her fourth at the graded level and improved her record to 30-13-4-3 with $865,670 earned. The Florida-bred 6-year-old daughter of Indy Wind was named Canada’s champion turf female each of the past two years and looks well on her way to a third title.
“It being a mile and a quarter is always tough, but it being a Grade 1 and being in our backyard, that kind of helps soften the blow,” Attard said. “She was so convincing when she won her last start and she came out of that race in great shape. She’s worked really well in the interim and Luis gave her an incredible ride today.”
Starship Jubilee returned $9 to win, $5.30 to place, and $3.60 to show. Durance brought back $8.80 to place and $5.30 to show, while Platane paid $8.50 to show.
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