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Fev Rover won the 2023 E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1) at Woodbine, holding off With The Moonlight and the favorite Moira throughout the stretch.
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Fev Rover (IRE), rebounding from an indifferent last-out effort here in the Canadian Stakes, rebounded in a big way to score by 2 ¼ lengths under jockey Javier Castellano in Sunday’s $750,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine.
The E.P. Taylor (G1T), a 1 ¼ mile race for fillies and mares, attracted a field of 10 and was contested over a turf course rated “good.”
Fev Rover’s victory, while convincing, was accomplished in far from routine fashion. Breaking from the No. 1 post for the fourth time in succession, the 5-year-old went to the front and was pressed by longshot Rocky Sky (IRE) through a quarter in :25.66 and a half in :50.29.
Heading into the far turn, Rocky Sky spurted to the front and Skims (GB), who had been stalking in third, moved into second place.
Fev Rover, meanwhile, had dropped back to third, 2 ½ lengths off the lead, as they raced through six furlongs in 1:14.30.
Castellano then switched Fev Rover off the rail and outside the leaders turning for home, however, the mare re-rallied to lead by two lengths at the furlong marker and continued to the wire unchallenged while finishing in 2:04.20 for owner Tracy Farmer and trainer Mark Casse.
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With the Moonlight, invading from the UK for the powerful team of owner/breeder Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby, kept tabs on the leaders from fourth place and finished well without seriously threatening the winner as the 5-2 second choice.
Moira, coming off a 6 ¼-length score here in the 1 1/8-mile Canadian (G2T), raced in the second flight from much of the race before launching a looping wide move which carried her into serious contention coming for home.
But the Ontario-bred, guided to 2022 Sovereign Awards as Canada’s Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old filly by trainer Kevin Attard, failed to sustain her run and checked in 1 ¾ lengths behind the runner-up as the 7-5 choice.
Skims ended another 3 ¼ lengths back in fourth place and was followed by Kalifornia Queen (GER), Aspen Grove (IRE), Amazing Grace (GER), Atomic Blonde (GER), Consumer Spending and Rocky Sky.
Fev Rover returned $10.10 as the third choice.
The E.P. Taylor was the second Grade 1 victory for Fev Rover, a 5-year-old who had first achieved that distinction two starts back in the Beverly D. over 1 3/16 miles of “good” going at Colonial Downs.
Fev Rover, who began her career in England, has now won four of her eight starts, also including two Grade 2 victories, since debuting for her current connections here last summer.
Casse had said prior to the E.P. Taylor that the race was part of a master plan which was designed to climax in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), which will be run this year at Santa Anita on November 4.
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