E. P. Taylor Stakes Quick Picks
Sunday’s $600,000 E. P. Taylor Stakes (G1) drew a field of ten older fillies and mares, including defending champ Etoile.
The 1 1/4 mile event over Woodbine’s turf course is billed as race eight of eleven, with a 4:37 PM ET post time.
Let’s take a quick look at the horses most likely to hit the board.
#10 La Dragontea (GB) (8-1)
La Dragontea enters with a two-race win streak under her girth, one of which was a decisive one-length victory in the Canadian Stakes (G2) over Court Return. Although the Christophe Clement trainee faces Grade 1 competition for the first time, she has won two of three starts at 1 1/4 miles and can get an outside stalking trip. Win contender.
#2 Etoile (FR) (5-2)
Etoile scored a neck victory over Court Return in last year’s E.P. Taylor. The Chad Brown trainee returned to Woodbine in her last start to finish second by a half-length to Mutamakina in the Dance Smartly Stakes (G2), to whom she gave away three pounds. The rivals will meet at equal weight this time around. Win contender.
#8 Great Island (3-1)
Great Island hasn’t been off the board in eight career starts. The Chad Brown trainee answered the class question when finishing second in the Flower Bowl Stakes (G1) in her last start and previously beat Kalifornia Queenin the Matchmaker Stakes (G3). Great Island has tactical speed and is a significant threat. Win contender.
#6 Mutamakina (GB) (5-1)
Mutamakina’s Dance Smartly Stakes victory over Etoile was her first since last November, although she’s been in the money in ten of 15 starts. The knock against this filly is that she hasn’t scored back-to-back wins since 2019 in France. However, the Christophe Clement has finished out of the money at 1 1/4 miles only twice in seven starts. Exotics.
#4 Kalifornia Queen (GER) (6-1)
Kalifornia Queen closed powerfully to miss by a half-length in her last two starts at shorter distances, including a game runner-up finish to stablemate Great Island. The Chad Brown trainee has hit the board in two of three starts at this distance, and if there’s a quick early pace, she’ll be running at the end. Win contender.
#1 Waliyak (FR) (8-1)
Waliyak has finished in the top three in 12 of 14 career starts, including two of her last three, and most recently captured the Prix Bertrand de Tarragon (G3). Although the Roger Varian trainee has competed at shorter distances this year, she has hit the board in two of three starts at 1 1/4 miles. Exotics.
#3 Court Return (15-1)
Court Return has visited the winner’s circle only twice in 19-lifetime starts, but she has finished second six times, all at this track. She was third in last year’s Canadian Stakes before dropping the photo loss to Etoile in the E.P. Taylor. This year the Josie Carroll trainee closed to finish second in the Canadian, despite trouble in the stretch. Live longshot.
E. P. Taylor Stakes Analysis
Four of the last five E. P. Taylor Stakes winners were pacesetters or pressers.
The E. P. Taylor is a wide-open affair, and there isn’t a need-the-lead type in here, so whoever breaks on top may take the lead and slow the pace. I’m taking a stand against Etoile repeating her victory. Since the race’s inception in 1956, only one mare has won this race twice.
- #10 La Dragontea (GB) (8-1)
- #2 Etoile (FR) (5-2)
- #8 Great Island (3-1)
- #3 Court Return (15-1)