A pair of Grade 2 turf stakes, the $200,000 Highlander, and $175,000 Nassau, share the spotlight with a trio of other graded stakes as part of the Canada Day Racing Festival, Saturday at Woodbine.
The world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course will play host to a pair of star-stacked fields in this year’s editions of the six-furlong Highlander (for 4-year-olds and up) and one-mile Nassau (for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up), both races having drawn local and U.S. interest.
One Timer, a 4-year-old son of Trappe Shot-Spanish Star, is no stranger to Woodbine, having won the main track Victoria Stakes in 2021.
Trained by Larry Rivelli for Richard Ravin and Patricia’s Hope LLC, the bay returns to the Toronto oval for the Highlander a graded stakes winner after taking the $600,000 Franklin-Simpson (G2T) last September at Kentucky Downs.
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One Timer returned to action on June 1 and notched a 4 ¼-length triumph over five furlongs on the Belterra Park turf.
“That effort at Kentucky Downs was extremely impressive,” praised Rivelli. “We gave him some time off after that race and got him going again in that race in Ohio. But he’s ready now. This is the spot. He’s doing really well and we’re looking forward to coming up to Woodbine. E.T. [jockey, Baird] says he has a great cruising speed. Once he gets to the front, he wants to stay there.”
Bred in Kentucky by St. Simon Place LLC, One Timer is 6-1-0 from nine career starts, with $589,113 (U.S.) in lifetime earnings.
Saturday’s race will mark the first time the well-travelled gelding will have competed twice at the same racetrack.
“I hope he handles it [E.P. Taylor] as good as he’s handled all the other turf courses he’s been on,” said Rivelli. “He’s the type of horse that is capable of being ready to go wherever he happens to be racing. One of those horses who just knows what to do and how to do it well.”
Other starters include multiple graded stakes placed Masseto (GB), graded stakes placed Oceanic, and multiple graded stakes winner Silent Poet.
Sid Attard won three straight editions of the Highlander, with Signature Red in 2010 and 2011, and Smokey Fire in 2012.
Moira Headlines Nassau
Moira, Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year, will make the second start of her 4-year-old campaign in the Nassau.
Trained by Kevin Attard for owners X-Men Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, and SF Racing LLC, the daughter of Ghostzapper, who also earned champion 3-year-old filly at the Sovereign Awards ceremony earlier this year, finished second in the Belle Mahone (G3), a neck behind Super Hoity Toity in the 1 1/16-mile main track race.
This will be Moira’s third try on the grass. She finished second but was demoted to eighth in last year’s E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1T) and was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T) at Keeneland on November 5.
“She’s run two strong races on the turf,” said Attard, who won the 2017 edition of the Nassau with multiple Sovereign winner Starship Jubilee, Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2019. “Unfortunately, the E.P. Taylor resulted in a disqualification, but that doesn’t take away from the grit she showed and that ability to dig deep when the real running starts.
“She had a tough trip in the Breeders’ Cup, but she showed that competitive fight again. If things had worked out differently, who knows what the result could have been? She’s had some bad racing luck her past three starts, so hopefully she’s due for some better luck this time around.”
Bred in Ontario by Adena Springs, Moira won the 2021 Princess Elizabeth Stakes in her debut and followed it up with a second in the Mazarine (G3) to complete her 2-year-old campaign.
In 2022, she captured the Fury Stakes and Woodbine Oaks before a seven-length stunner in the $1 million Plate, in which she set Woodbine’s 1 ¼-mile synthetic-track record.
Moira comes into the Nassau with a 4-2-0 mark from eight starts and $995,491 (U.S.) in career earnings.
“It would be great to see her get the win on Canada Day at her home track on one of the best turf courses in the world,” said Attard. “There’s always a big sense of pride at our barn when you can take on top-level competition and win one for the home team.”
Other starters include multiple graded stakes placed Eminent Victor, graded stakes winner Fev Rover (IRE), multiple graded stakes placed Scotish Star (ARG), graded stakes placed Millie Girl, and graded stakes placed Sweet Enough (GB).
The Highlander and Nassau are slated as race eight and race 10, respectively. First post time is 1:10 p.m. Fans can also watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
FIELD FOR THE $200,000 GRADE 2 HIGHLANDER
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Cadamosto (IRE) (S) – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
2 – Outlaw Kid – Eric Cancel – George Weaver
3 – Old Chestnut – Edgard Zayas – Martin Drexler
4 – Masseto (GB) – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
5 – Lucky Score – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse
6 – Oceanic – Reylu Gutierrez – Jordan Blair
7 – Souper Dormy – Declan Carroll – Martin Drexler
8 – Striker – Kazushi Kimura – Josie Carroll
9 – Silent Poet – Eswan Flores – Nick Gonzalez
10 – One Timer – Rafael Hernandez – Larry Rivelli
FIELD FOR THE $175,000 GRADE 2 NASSAU
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Sister Lou Ann – Edgard Zayas – Saffie Joseph, Jr.
2 – Millie Girl – Declan Carroll – Catherine Day Phillips
3 – Scotish Star (ARG) – Reylu Gutierrez – Todd Pletcher
4 – Moira – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard
5 – Devil’s Bit – David Moran – Roger Attfield
6 – Purrfect – Ryan Munger – Michael Stidham
7 – Sweet Enough (GB) – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Roger Attfield
8 – Fev Rover (IRE) – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
9 – Eminent Victor – Rafael Hernandez – Chad Brown