Talented 2-year-olds will take center stage on Sunday at Woodbine, waging battle in a pair of 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 stakes over the Tapeta course.
The highlight of the day is the $125,000 Mazarine (G3) for fillies, in which the undefeated Souper Sensational will make her eagerly-awaited two-turn debut. A daughter of Curlin conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse, the $725,000 yearling purchase is unbeaten in two starts sprinting 7 furlongs, most recently rolling to a four-length triumph in Woodbine’s Glorious Song S.
Briefly considered for a start in the Breeders’ Cup, Souper Sensational is instead pursuing a more conservative route. The Mazarine looms as an opportunity for the exciting filly to step up in distance without diving in deep from a competition standpoint.
“We decided not to go to the Breeders’ Cup with her,” Casse told Woodbine. “She’s been very impressive so far in her couple of races. We feel like her pedigree says she should be able to stretch out. She’s coming out into it well. She had a nice breeze, but it wasn’t so much what she did during the breeze, but what she did after it. She galloped out really strong. Every indication says she should get two turns. But until you try it, you don’t know.”
As the only runner in the field who can boast a victory over the Woodbine Tapeta, Souper Sensational holds an experience advantage over her half-dozen rivals. Stakes performers Il Malocchio, Sleek Lynx, and Batyah have all shown flashes of talent, but they’ve done their best running on turf. The same can be said of Designer Ready, who produced an explosive rally to win her debut racing 1 1/16 miles over the Woodbine grass.
Army Wife, a maiden winner on dirt at Churchill Downs, will ship in with Presque Isle Downs maiden graduate Do You Love Me to complete the Mazarine field. Post time is 6:28 p.m. ET.
Approximately half an hour earlier, nine colts and geldings will square off in the $125,000 Grey (G3). Casse again holds a strong hand with the undefeated Display S. winner Helium, who stretches out in distance off a pair of clear-cut victories sprinting 7 furlongs over the Woodbine Tapeta. Casse will also saddle Easy Time, an impressive debut winner over the synthetic.
But competition runs deep in the Grey, so victory isn’t assured for the Casse trainees. Coronation Futurity winner Stephen and late-charging Woodbine maiden winner Haddassah comprise a formidable duo for trainer Kevin Attard. Barrister Tom showed promise on grass when prevailing in the Juvenile S. at Kentucky Downs, and Gospel Way has hit the board in three straight Woodbine stakes, most notably finishing second in the Display.
Rounding out the field are Coronation Futurity fifth-place finisher British Royalty and the Woodbine maiden winners Lucky Score and Lomaki’s Gem. Post time for the Grey is 5:58 p.m.