TORONTO, May 24, 2019 – Multiple graded stakes winner and Sovereign Award champ Starship Jubilee goes after her 13th career win in Sunday’s Grade 2 $175,000 Nassau Stakes, to be contested over the world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Trained by Kevin Attard for Blue Heaven Farm, Canada’s champion turf female in 2017 looks to continue her hot start to the season in the one-mile race for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and upward, after taking her second straight Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf.
On January 19 at Gulfstream Park, Starship Jubilee won the 16th running of the 1 1/16-mile Filly & Mare Turf event in style, crossing the wire an impressive 4 ½-lengths ahead of her closest rival. Beaten as the favourite from Post 12 in her previous start, the Claiming Crown Tiara on December 1, also at Gulfstream, Starship Jubilee ($4.20) drew off to win under Javier Castellano, stopping the teletimer in 1:43.33 over firm going.
“She’s just a competitor,” praised Attard. “Every time we send her out there, she’s giving it her all. She tries really hard.”
It was something Attard and his father, Tino, saw when they made the decision to claim the horse for $16,000 in early 2017 at Gulfstream.
Expectations for the mare, at least initially, were modest.
“We were just looking for a horse that might be handy when we came back to Woodbine,” said Attard. “Obviously, my dad and I, we both liked her. We hoped to maybe win a race at Gulfstream before the season was over and if it went well, we’d bring her back to Woodbine and see how it went.
“She won three in a row for us at Gulfstream, so we got to the point where the meet is wrapped up and we’re coming back to Woodbine. There was really no place to run other than the Nassau. At that point, we had nothing to lose. If she goes out and doesn’t fare well, we thought, ‘No big deal,’ we’ll regroup and find something at a more appropriate level.”
Starship Jubilee decided to take it to the next level.
She wowed in her first two appearances at the Toronto oval in 2017, taking both the Grade 2 Nassau and the Grade 2 Dance Smartly. At season’s end, she won six races, along with one second and two thirds from 10 starts, en route to her Sovereign nod.
The daughter of Indy Wind now has nine victories since being claimed.
“It’s turned out to be more than anyone could have ever dreamed of,” said Attard.
Boasting 12 wins, two seconds and two thirds from 26 starts, the six-year-old bay heads into the one-mile Nassau at the top of her game.
“She’s worked really well the past couple of works (four furlongs, breezing, in :47.60 on May 12 and four furlongs, in :47-flat on May 19). I couldn’t be happier with the way she’s coming into the race. I’m excited to see her run. We’re hoping for the same kind of outcome as her Sunshine Millions race.”
The Nassau is the first leg of Woodbine’s new Ladies of the Lawn Series, which offers $75,000 in bonuses to the top performers based on points accumulated in the designated graded turf routes for fillies and mares. The series also includes the $175,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (Grade 2), the $250,000 Canadian Stakes (Grade 2) and the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Grade 1, with a purse increased to $600,000), which will serve as the series’ final leg.
Chiefswood Stable homebred Niigon’s Eclipse won last year’s Nassau, stopping the clock in 1:32.74 and paying $26.70 for the win.
The Nassau is Race 8 on Saturday’s 10-race card. First post time is 1:05 p.m. Fans can also watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
FIELD FOR THE $175,000 GRADE 2 NASSAU STAKES
POST – HORSE – JOCKEY – TRAINER
1 – Ghostly Presence – Rafael Hernandez – Roger Attfield
2 – Summer Luck – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Mark Casse
3 – Starship Jubilee – Luis Contreras – Kevin Attard
4 – Get Explicit – Patrick Husbands – Barb Minshall
5 – Secret Message – Trevor McCarthy – Graham Motion
6 – Red Cabernet – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Ian Black