Only two races into her career and some are ready to fit Embur’s Song for a crown.
But if the dynamic 3-year-old filly is as impressive as she has shown, she just might have a date with the Queen in three weeks.
From her decisive wins in each of those two starts to her world-class connections, Embur’s Song returns to Woodbine on Sunday as the overwhelming favourite for the Labatt Woodbine Oaks. And a victory over seven other Canadian-foaled three-year-olds might just be her launchpad to greatness.
“Embur’s Song looks like if she lives up to expectations, she can be a star filly,” said prominent Canadian breeder Glenn Sikura, who will attempt to beat her in the Oaks with long shot Oil Painting.
“She’s a filly who looks like she can be a champion filly beyond just a Canadian-bred, a filly who looks like she could go on and do some damage in the States.”
And there is the dilemma that could face her American trainer Todd Pletcher, and owner Fares Farm, from the moment she crosses the wire Sunday, provided she does so first and in convincing fashion in the 11/8th mile race.
Such an effort would make Embur’s Song a potential favourite for the July 4 Queen’s Plate, a race that certainly has been kind to outstanding filly competitors over the years.
In her two starts — one at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. and the other here — Embur’s Song has won by a combined 17 lengths. In the latter, she nearly ran the fastest 11/16th miles over Woodbine’s polytrack by any horse regardless of age or sex.
Pletcher, most recently renowned for winning this year’s Kentucky Derby with Super Saver, may or may not have other thoughts. The Plate and its $1.5-million purse certainly is tempting, especially if the trainer feels the best males Canadian racing has to offer are beatable.
But as an American, Pletcher may want to look to graded stakes south of the border to determine whether she can dominate the best of her breed rather than just those foaled in Canada. The trainer certainly is taking the Oaks seriously, commissioning top U.S. jockey Garrett Gomez to ride Embur’s Song on Sunday.
“It will be interesting to see how the filly runs in the Oaks,” said Canadian hall of fame trainer Roger Attfield, who will saddle the second choice in the morning line, Ernfold. “I loved her as a yearling, I just didn’t have the money to buy it.
“She’s run some really big numbers and done it very, very easily.”
It could be a big afternoon for Attfield in terms of enlightening his Plate options both with the filly and a pair of colts. Besides Ernfold, he has the top two selections in the Plate Trial, which will be run the race immediately preceding the Oaks.
Hollinger, who was undefeated as a two-year-old and voted Canadian champion for that performance, will look to rebound from a stutter-start to his current season, a disappointing fourth-place effort in the Queenston Stakes on May 15.
Backing him up is Mobilizer, a Frank Stronach-owned runner who is also in the thick of the Plate picture.