Why I'm Betting Santa Monica in the E.P. Taylor Stakes
There’s seemingly something for everyone in Saturday’s $500,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine, a 1 ¼-mile turf event that is shaping up to be one of the best betting races of the weekend.There are several European shippers… a talented local runner... a couple of three-year-olds… and three contenders trained by Chad Brown, who has surprisingly never won the E.P. Taylor Stakes. One reason might be because the E.P. Taylor has been dominated over the last decade by horses based in Europe; they’ve won seven of the last ten renewals of the race.
But this year, I’m going to take a stand against the European shippers. There’s no doubt they have talent—and #5 Golden Legend in particular warrants respect after winning multiple Group 3 events in France and finishing just four lengths back of the winner in the Darley Prix Jean Romanet (Fr-I) going 1 ¼ miles—but on the whole, they’re not nearly as accomplished as past Europeans winners of the E.P. Taylor, who generally boasted much better form at the Group 1 level in Europe.
That’s why I’m going to take my chances with #2 Santa Monica. Trained by Chad Brown, the daughter of Mastercraftsman has run well in all four of her starts this year, but by far her best effort came in the Dance Smartly Stakes (gr. II) over the same course and distance as the E.P. Taylor Stakes. In that race, Santa Monica rated at the back of the pack early on before rallying strongly to defeat a quality field that included Inflexibility and Holy Helena.
Last time out, Santa Monica could only finish second in the Glens Fall Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga, but she was facing an impossible task trying to run down the lone leader Lady Montdore, who somehow managed to escape with setting unbelievably slow fractions of :27.79, :54.56, and 1:21.31. According to the figures produced by RacingFlow.com, the Glens Falls Stakes was as speed-favoring a race as you’ll ever find, so Santa Monica can be forgiven for failing to catch Lady Montdore.
Rather than get too creative with exotic wagers, my strategy will be to bet Santa Monica to win and key her on top of an exacta. For second place, I’ll use Santa Monica’s talented stablemate #8 Elysea’s World plus the above-mentioned Golden Legend and the four-time graded stakes winner #9 Proctor’s Ledge:
$15 to win on #2 Santa Monica $5 exacta: 2 with 5,8,9 ($15)