TORONTO, September 11, 2019—Starship Jubilee ran perhaps the best race of her career in the 2018 running of the Canadian Stakes Presented by the Japan Racing Association, springing an 11-1 upset as the second longest shot in a field of six which included a pair of favoured Chad Brown shippers.
On Saturday, Starship Jubilee will have to be equally sharp to defend her title in the Grade 2 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares which offers a purse of $250,000.
“I think her form indicates that she hasn’t lost a step,” said trainer Kevin Attard. “The Canadian was exceptionally good, and she’d probably have to come up with a similar performance on Saturday.”
Starship Jubilee, a six-year-old daughter of Indy Wind, was claimed for $16,000 on Attard’s behalf by his father and fellow trainer, Tino Attard, at Gulfstream in February of 2017. The Florida-bred mare has gone on to win five stakes races including three Grade 2s.
Entered in last November’s breeding stock sale at Keeneland, Starship Jubilee failed to meet her $425,000 reserve and afterwards was sold privately to Bonnie Baskin’s Blue Heaven Farm.
Last time out, in her fourth start for her new connections, Starship Jubilee journeyed to Saratoga for a Ballston Spa, a Grade 2 turf race in which she was beaten just a half-length as the third-place finisher over 1 1/16 miles of turf.
“She was a little rank early, and the pace was slower than I’d anticipated,” said Attard. “I thought she ran a great race, considering.”
In her two starts this year on the Woodbine turf course, Starship Jubilee finished second behind shipper Secret Message in the Grade 2 Nassau and then second behind Holy Helena in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly. She had captured the Nassau in 2017.
“In this year’s Nassau, it looked like she got to the lead a little bit early, and maybe loafed a bit down the lane and got caught,” said Attard.
“Then, in her last race here, she kind of got further back than expected. Holy Helena is a tough horse. There’s no shame in running second to a horse of that calibre, that’s for sure.”
Holy Helena once more looms as the one to beat in the Canadian as she makes her first start since the June 29 Dance Smartly.
The five-year-old Stronach Stable homebred, winner of the Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate and Canada’s Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in 2017, has raced almost exclusively on the grass the past two seasons and has four graded stakes scores to her credit.
New York-based James Jerkens is the conditioner of record but the Ghostzapper mare has been here with Mike Doyle, a trainer in his own right and a Team Stronach racing consultant, since mid-June.
“She’s doing good,” said Doyle. “She came up to run in the Dance Smartly. The plan was for her to start, have a little break, then run in the Canadian. Then, if everything went well, we’ll maybe run her back here in the E.P. Taylor.”
The Grade 1 E.P. Taylor, a 1 ¼-mile turf race for fillies and mares, offers a purse of $600,000 and will be run October 12 as the companion feature to the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International.
Adding some pomp to the Canadian is the presence of Magnetic Charm, a three-year-old Exceed And Excel filly who races for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Magnetic Charm is trained by William Haggas, who also conditions Awesometank and will send out that filly to face males in Saturday’s Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile.
Magnetic Charm will be the second Woodbine representative for The Queen, whose Dartmouth was the runner-up in the 2016 Canadian International.
“She’s useful,” said Haggas, whose only starter here prior to this year was Woodbine Mile third-place finisher Mutakayeff in 2016. “She won a listed stakes in England, first up (this year), and then ran second at Royal Ascot with a big weight. She ran third at Ascot after that–a little bit disappointing, but we think we know why.
“She’s in good shape and ready to go. I hope she takes to Woodbine the way Awesometank took to Chicago.”
Kazushi Kimura, last year’s Sovereign Award winner as Outstanding Apprentice Jockey, has been recruited from the local colony for the mount on the royal runner.
Kimura, a native of Hokkaida, Japan who celebrated his 20th birthday last week, joined the Woodbine colony last year and finished sixth in the jockey standings with 89 wins. His mounts earned more than $2.3 million and included his first stakes winner, Speedy Soul, in the Muskoka. He also added 15 wins at Fort Erie.
This year, Kimura sits third in the Woodbine standings with 78 wins entering tonight’s race card.
Competitionofideas, from the ever-dangerous turf contingent of trainer Chad Brown, is a Grade 1 winner, having captured the 1 1/4-mile American Oaks at Santa Anita last December.
Although winless in four starts this season, Competitionofideas was beaten a grand total of one length in her first three stakes appearance. The four-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Speightstown then finished third behind champion stablemate Sistercharlie and the English invader Awesometank in Arlington Park’s Grade 1 Beverly D. at 1 3/16 miles on the grass.
Touriga, born and initially raced in Brazil, made her North American debut in the Grade 3 Matchmaker over 1 1/8 miles of turf at Monmouth, finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind runner-up Competitionofideas.
The four-year-old Put It Back filly is trained by Graham Motion, who won the 2017 Canadian with Quidura.
Rounding out the field will be locally-based Dixie Moon and Giovanni Blues.
Dixie Moon is a two-time stakes winner here on turf, having defeated males in the 1 1/16-mile Cup and Saucer as a two-year-old and captured the 1 1/8 mile Carotene for Ontario-bred three-year-old fillies last season.
Owned and bred by Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry and trained by Catherine Day Phillips, four-year-old Curlin filly Dixie Moon also won the Woodbine Oaks on the Tapeta last year.
Giovanna Blues, six-year-old Gio Ponti mare, won her first stakes and the first for her trainer Francine Villeneuve in the Flaming Page at 1 1/2 miles on the turf last time out.
$250,000 Canadian Stakes (Grade 2) Presented by the Japan Racing Association
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Touriga (BRZ) – Tyler Gaffalione – Graham Motion
2 – Holy Helena – Rafael Hernandez – James Jerkens
3 – Magnetic Charm (GB) – Kazushi Kimura – William Haggas
4 – Dixie Moon – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Catherine Day Phillips
5 – Competitionofideas – Joel Rosario – Chad Brown
6 – Starship Jubilee – Luis Contreras – Kevin Attard
7 – Giovanna Blues – Gary Boulanger – Francine Villeneuve