The first MAPLE LEAF STAKES (G3) was run in 1892, making the 1 1/4 mile race on Tapeta for three-year-old and upward fillies and mares one of the oldest stakes races on the schedule.
Queen Mary was the first winner of the race and some greats of Canadian racing have won editions, such as Glorious Song, Eternal Search, Triple Wow and Catch the Ring.
The 117th Maple Leaf is race 7 on a big card of racing at Woodbine on November 11, Remembrance Day. The top two finishers from last year’s Maple Leaf are in the field of 13: IL MALOCCHIO, winner of the Grade 3 Trillium Stakes this year, could get her first Sovereign Award for Champion Older Mare/Main Track with a big effort and ANGELOU seeks her first stakes win. Il Malocchio, owned by Franco Meli and trained by Martin Drexler, is a five-year-old mare who has been third in two graded stakes races since her Trillium win. She has a new rider on Saturday in Kazushi Kimura, as Sahin Civaci will stay with the three-year-old Solo Album.
ANGELOU, trained by Kevin Attard, is a Curlin mare with plenty of early speed and if she keeps something in reserve for the late stages she can be a major player under Luis Contreras.
SOLO ALBUM won the Grade 3 Ontario Derby over colts but was disqualified for a miscue very early in the race.
TALBEYAH (Ire) and Patrick Husbands comes off a lengthy layoff but has had troubled outings in the US on grass this year. EVER SMART, a New York-based, California-raced mare and Ontario Matron Stakes winner MILLIE GIRL are other contenders in the race.
The BESSARABIAN STAKES (G2) is not as old as the Maple Leaf as it was first run in 1985 and won by champion SUMMER MOOD. This race often paves the way to the Champion Female Sprinter as it is the highest graded sprint for fillies and mares.
Last year’s winner OUR FLASH DRIVE is in the field, but she is coming off a drab outing in the Ontario Fashion which was won by longshot SPUN GLASS. The Fashion featured a very hot pace that burned out horses on or near the lead.
LOYALTY, third in the Fashion behind Spun Glass and Awesome Treat, could win a Sovereign Award with a victory as she has won the Grade 3 Hendrie this year. Our Flash Drive and Ready to Venture would also qualify with a victory.