Leigh Court, Ageless clash in Royal North
Woodbine is hosting a pair of turf contests on Sunday, highlighted by the C$150,000 Royal North S. (Can-G3) sending distaffers six furlongs.
Canadian champion Leigh Court returns in the Royal North after fading to fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) last November 1.
The Michael Stidham mare only competed twice before that race last year, taking both the Seaway S. (Can-G3) and Thoroughbred Club of America S. (G2). Regular rider Gary Boulanger will again be holding the reins as she attempts to kick off her five-year-old campaign on a high note.
Leigh Court will face defending race winner Ageless, who captured last year’s running of the Royal North by a half-length. She also equaled the track record that day while making her debut at Woodbine.
Ageless closed out 2014 with a near-miss fourth, just three parts of a length back of the winner, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) while facing males. She was only a neck behind third-place finisher Undrafted, who traveled to Royal Ascot this year to triumph in the Diamond Jubilee S. (Eng-G1).
Unlike Leigh Court, the six-year-old mare has already made three starts in 2015. Ageless rallied for second in the Giant’s Causeway S. at Keeneland in April, set a new track record at Pimlico when defending her title in The Very One S. and is exiting a third-place effort in Belmont Park’s Jaipur Invitational S. (G3) against the boys.
The well-traveled Ageless keeps jockey Julien Leparoux in the saddle as she seeks a second Royal North score.
Earlier on Woodbine’s Sunday program, a field of eight sophomores will travel 1 1/8 miles on the grass in the C$125,000 Toronto Cup.
Leigh Court photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography
Ageless photo courtesy of WEG/Michael Burns Photography