Nov 25, 2023 – Canuck Racing Club’s War Painter staked her claim as the top 2-year-old filly in Canada when she won the Victorian Queen stakes earlier this year. Doubts were introduced in her fifth-place showing in her follow-up stakes attempt. Which effort best defined her? Coming into Saturday’s Princess Elizabeth Stakes, the pundits seemed to think it was the latter. Not many gave War Painter a shot at finishing top 2 with Olivia Rose and Airosa respected as strong favourites.

War Painter broke well from the gate and jockey Patrick Husbands elected to drop her back in the pack while letting speed horses set the pace at 24.1 seconds in the first quarter. She stalked near the back outside, falling to a distant sixth with the leaders already out of reach for other thoroughbreds. Just past the halfway mark, you could see the exact moment that Husbands took War Painter off cruise control and put her into a higher gear.

Coming into the backstretch she wound up very nicely, Husbands making a bold move three wide and circling horses midway on the final turn. Rounding into it, he continued her momentum six wide driving to the wire. War Painter took control at the furlong pole and opened up a big lead in the stretch. Assuming he was on his way to victory, Husbands missed Inudation motoring up the rail and catching him at the 70-yard mark. War Painter resurged at Husbands’ renewed asking but gave up the victory by less than a single stride and a nose in a photo finish. It was a tough loss to give away as a win would have made a compelling case for War Painter becoming a Sovereign Award for Champion 2-year-old filly.

That said, the Princess Elizabeth is often won by the favourites of the ensuing year’s $500K Woodbine Oaks and valuable future broodmares. War Painter should be a strongly considered contender for that race as she elevated her previous highest eSpeed figure of 89 into a 97 in Saturday’s affair.

This final race of her 2-year-old campaign gave War Painter four finishes in the money in just five starts as she collected more than $110,000 USD in purses and the distinction of becoming the first-ever stakes winner sired by champion Danish Dynaformer.

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