TORONTO, September 7, 2022 – Graham Motion trainees Serifos and Zatip will take on eight rivals in the $125,000 Toronto Cup, Saturday at Woodbine.
Serifos is set to make his first start outside of the U.S. in the one-mile event for 3-year-olds over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Bred and owned by Wertheimer et Frere, the son of Into Mischief-Soldata rolls into his first stakes race in fine form, having won two of his past three races.
His latest triumph, a 5 ¾-length win, came on August 11 at Delaware in a one-mile main track race that was originally scheduled for the grass.
“He’s a brother to [filly] Alda, who finished second in the Grade 1 Natalma two years ago at Woodbine,” said Motion. “He’s never won on the turf, but I always felt he’d run well on it. His form turned around after we gelded him. He’s put a few nice races together. It’s actually quite hard to place a 3-year-old who has won a couple of races into a stakes. You have to run in the big races because there aren’t a lot of these good in-between races. It seems like a good spot to try him.”
One race prior to delivering at Delaware, Serifos finished second at the same distance and over the same course. On May 14, the Kentucky-bred navigated a sloppy strip at Pimlico to notch a three-length score at 1 1/16 miles.
“I like the fact that he’s put together a string of good races. Honestly, since he was gelded, I’ve been impressed with all of his races. He’s put together some nice performances. He’s as beautifully bred as you can have. I really do think gelding him really turned him around.”
Serifos debuted at Laurel last October, finishing ninth in a 5 ½-furlong turf race. His next two races yielded the same result, but his fortunes changed with a trip to Laurel where he posted a third and a second before his maiden-breaking effort in Maryland in mid-May.
Motion is looking forward to seeing how his sophomore, sporting a record of 2-2-1 from eight starts, takes to the E.P. Taylor.
“I don’t really know [as to what type of turf he prefers],” said the multiple graded stakes winning conditioner, who won the 2005 running of the Toronto Cup with T.D. Vance. “I think he will handle it. There is no reason, considering the family, that he shouldn’t handle it.”
A son of Tapit-Zaftig, Zatip will look to rebound from an off-key effort at Colonial Downs last time out.
The chestnut, also a Wertheimer et Frere homebred, finished last of six in the Housebuster Overnight Handicap on August 1, after winning his previous two races, including his seasonal debut at Laurel.
“I’ve kind of been circling as to where we want to go next,” said Motion. “He had a really poor performance last time out. He’s really well-bred and he’s been a dirt horse up until now. So, we’ll give him a chance on the grass.”
After a fifth at Laurel to launch his career last October, Zatip concluded his rookie campaign with a maiden-breaking showing at Keeneland 27 days after his first race.
This July, at Laurel, he stumbled at the start, but regrouped to earn a one-length win in the 7-furlong trip over the main track.
“His breeding suggests he should handle the grass, but we haven’t taken that route up until now,” offered Motion, who recently eclipsed the 2,600-win mark. “That was a very disappointing race, the last one, in what was a really tough contest, so we’ll see how he takes to the grass.”
The Toronto Cup is scheduled as the seventh race on Saturday’s 1:00 p.m. card Fans can watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
$125,000 TORONTO CUP STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Churchtown – Declan Carroll – Roger Attfield
2 – Mannix (IRE) – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
3 – First Empire (S) – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
4 – Riot House – Kendrick Carmouche – Danny Gargan
5 – Zatip – Justin Stein – Graham Motion
6 – Luckman – Daisuke Fukumoto – Vito Armata
7 – Day Tripper – David Moran – David Bell
8 – Hicksy – Antonio Gallardo – Kevin Attard
9 – Lac Macaza – Luis Contreras – Julia Carey
10 – Serifos – Rafael Hernandez – Graham Motion
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms