Ten Things You Should Know: E.P. Taylor Stakes
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
Originally published on October 10, 2012
1) The E.P. Taylor Stakes is a Grade 1 turf race at 1 ¼ miles for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
2) The first running of the race came in 1956. From 1956 until 1961, the race was held at the old Woodbine Racetrack, later known as the Greenwood Raceway. It has been at the new Woodbine for every edition since 1962.
3) The race was originally named the Nettie Handicap and was renamed the E.P. Taylor in 1981. E.P. Taylor was an influential figure in Canadian racing who is best known for breeding and owning Northern Dancer, winner of the 1964 Kentucky Derby and one of the most influential sires of the 20th century. E.P. Taylor was inducted into the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame in 1976.
4) In 1965, Northern Queen won the E.P. Taylor for trainer Horatio Luro, who trained Northern Dancer. Northern Queen was by Nearctic, who also sired Northern Dancer, and was owned by Windfields Farm, the breeding and racing operation of E.P. Taylor.
5) The 1981 winner, the 3-year-old De La Rose, won the E.P. Taylor during a season that earned her an Eclipse Award for female turf horse. The regally bred mare has a race named in her honor at Saratoga Race Course, where she won the 1981 Saranac and Diana Stakes.
6) The 1991 winner of the E.P. Taylor, Lady Shirl, is the dam of Perfect Shirl, the upset winner of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Lady Shirl is also the dam of Shakespeare, a dual Grade 1 winner whose only career loss came in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Turf.
7) The 2005 E.P. Taylor winner, Honey Ryder, finished third in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf and second in the 2009 edition of the BC race.
8) In 2008, the reigning Canadian Horse of the Year, Sealy Hill. finished second in the E.P. Taylor. She made her final career start in her next race, the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, where she finished second to Forever Together, the Eclipse winner for female turf horse.
9) In 2009, Lahaleeb scored the biggest upset in the race’s history when she hit the wire first at odds of 44-1.
10) Jockey Sandy Hawley, a member of the Racing Hall of Fame in both Canada and the United States, won a stakes record three editions of the E.P. Taylor (1976, 1978, and 1982). In 2011 U.S. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez tied his achievement of three wins (2004, 2005, 2011).