November 1 – Robert Marzilli’s Caren stamped herself an early favorite for the 2016 Woodbine Oaks with an impressive gate-to-wire score in Sunday’s $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Mike DePaulo, the bay daughter of Society’s Chairman passed her first two-turn test with flying colours while winning her fifth race from six starts in the 1 1/16-mile ‘Poly’ stake for Canadian-foaled juveniles.
Jesse Campbell sent Caren to the lead, posting splits of :24.47 and :48.12 with Niigon’s Legacy pressing her early pace, while Garavogue Colleen and Swoop and Strike settled behind the front-runners leaving the 3-5 mutuel favourite, Gamble’s Ghost, recent winner of the Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes, last of five down the back straight.
Caren led the field into the final turn and found another gear opening up a four-length advantage at the top of the lane as Swoop and Strike and Gamble’s Ghost rallied into contention. However, there was no catching Caren, who, despite being on her wrong lead, raced away to a three-length win. Gamble’s Ghost was up for place, three lengths in front of Niigon’s Legacy. Caren covered 1 1/16-miles in 1:44.56.
Campbell, aboard for all six career starts, continues to be impressed by the win-happy bay.
“She was comfortable, quick. I knew she was going to leave there today. She was ready to run on post (parade),” said Campbell.
The veteran rider arrived back in Toronto early this morning after guiding locally-based Riker to a sixth-place finish in Saturday’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, in Lexington, Kentucky.
Campbell was not too concerned with Caren being on her wrong lead in the final furlong.
“That was a new development,” said Campbell. “She switched to her right lead and I never really got into her that much and she did pop to her left lead. I looked over at the board and she was well in front.
“She’ll get over that and she’ll have some good three-year-olds to run with next year and keep her mind on business. She’s been a blessing this year and a pleasure to work with from day one. Well managed, well handled and I’m happy for the connections.”
Caren debuted on June 6 with a 2 3/4-length score in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden allowance sprint setting up back-to-back sprint scores in the Shady Well and Nandi Stakes over the Woodbine main.
She made her grass debut on September 12 in the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes, a one-turn mile over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, a key event won by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf champion Catch a Glimpse. Caren finished third in the Natalma, just three-quarters of a length behind Princess Elizabeth rival Gamble’s Ghost.
Bred in Ontario by James A. Everatt, Janeane A. Everatt and J. Arika Everatt-Meeuse, the winning filly was purchased for $45,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale. Caren banked $150,000 for the Princess Elizabeth victory while improving her record to five wins from six career starts.