Fev Rover put herself in a good position to be named Canada’s horse of the year on Sunday.
The five-year-old mare was all class in the $750,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine. This win — coupled with a win in the Nassau Stakes earlier this year and a win in the Beverly D. Stakes at Colonial in August — makes her the most accomplished horse eligible for a Sovereign Award. That Beverly D. Stakes win also gave her a guaranteed spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita and if she is sent to the Los Angeles-area racecourse, she will be among the leading North American contenders.
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Ridden by Javier Castellano in the Taylor, Fev Rover went to the front at the start of the 1 1/4-mile turf race on a surface moistened by rain. Around the turn, though, she was passed by longshots Rocky Sky and Skims. But with two furlongs to go, she came back to the lead and was able to get the better of the two race favorites, English invader With the Moonlight and local star Moira, to get the 2 1/2-length win at odds of 4-1.
“My horse ran very well,” Castellano said. “I like the way she did it today.
“When I asked, she had a lot in the tank at the end.”
The Irish-bred Fev Rover now has six wins in 19 starts for trainer Mark Casse.
The Taylor was one of two Grade 1 races on the card. In the $750,000 Canadian International, Nation’s Pride was sent off as the prohibitive 2-5 favourite, but needed much of the stretch to catch stubborn leader Royal Champion. Ridden by William Buick, Nation’s Pride ran comfortably, while Royal Champion had an easy time up front. In the stretch, it was the class of the Godolphin-owned four-year-old that came through as he took command in the deep stretch.
A nine-time winner in 14 career starts, Nation’s Pride has proven himself in five countries. Based in England, he won two stakes in New York last year. He captured a race in Dubai earlier this year and came to the International off a win in Germany. He is trained by Charlie Appleby.
Also Sunday, a host of runners made a late run, but it was 7-2 favourite Big Invasion who got his head in front at the wire in the $250,000 Nearctic Stakes. Ridden by Dylan Davis, Big Invasion sat mid-pack around the turn in the six-furlong turf sprint and in the stretch found a mid-course path to make his run, getting his head in front of Lucky Score at the wire with Ice Chocolat a close third.
Trained in New York by Christophe Clement, four-year-old Big Invasion now has eight wins in 14 career starts.
And Dancing Duchess flew past five rivals in the final yards to take the $200,000 Algonquin Stakes. With Castellano aboard, the two-year-old filly was last in the eight-horse field for much of the five-furlong sprint, then put on a late spurt to get the win. It was her second win in six starts for trainer Mark Casse.