March 24, 2023

Blond Me the highlight of E.P. Taylor

Blond Me captures the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-G1) at Woodbine under jockey Oisin Murphy on Sunday, October 15, 2017 (c) WEG/Michael Burns Photography

Blond Me’s connections have shown that they aren’t afraid to ship their star Tamayuz filly, and although it didn’t pay off in her last visit to North America, when a troubled sixth in the 2015 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Keeneland, it did pay off this year with a hard-fought win over Kitten’s Roar in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-G1) at Woodbine.

Blond Me threw an uncharacteristic clunker in the Qatar Prix Vermeille (Fr-G1) last out but had been coming off a good effort behind Winter in the Nassau Stakes (Eng-G1) and a win in the Middleton Stakes (Eng-G2). Blond Me retained her connections’ confidence to run well across the Atlantic.

“It was a big wish of mine to come back and hopefully to win a race and ‘Blondie’ as we call her was good enough,” owner Barbara Keller said. “You always get sick when you see the opposition because you think, ‘Oh my God they’re so good,’ but you know her form in England was fabulous. She was second to Winter and beat a subsequent Group 1 winner.”

The E.P. Taylor turf course was rated as soft for the E.P. Taylor race. Blond Me’s previous three races had been on similarly rated turf in Europe, but mileage may vary when it comes to ground conditions.

“We walked the track this morning,” said Anna Lisa Balding, who assists her husband Andrew with the training. “Everyone knows the ground in Canada is different than in the U.K, so we were very happy that she acted on it today.”

And not only did she have to act on it but also work on it, too, as Blond Me and jockey Oisin Murphy had a prolonged stretch dual to the outside Kitten’s Roar and Jose Ortiz before getting the best of those foes in the final strides.

“When I asked (Kitten’s Roar) to go at the quarter-pole she gave me everything she had, so kudos to the winner,” Ortiz said. “She’s a great horse.”