The Brock Talk

Friday, September 16, 2011

Woodbine Mile Has International Competition for Breeders’ Cup Invite

This Sunday Woodbine presents three graded races that should each have an impact on the Breeders’ Cup. But the race with the automatic invitation to the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile for the winner and the $1 million purse is The Ricoh Woodbine Mile (CAN- 1T).

Court Vision, winner of last year’s Woodbine Mile, has finished fourth in the last two Breeders’ Cup Miles and returns to defend his title in this race. Shoemaker Mile (gr. 1T) winner Courageous Cat has been slated as the post time favorite. Trained by Bill Mott, Courageous Cat also won the grade 3 Poker Stakes at Belmont Park in June in his only start of the year in June.

The Woodbine Mile also has quite an international representation from the likes of Irish-bred Dance and Dance; British Side Glance and Forte Dei Marmi; and Right One, who came from France last year and has been running in Florida and New York since.

Side Glance and Dance and Dance faced each other last month at Salisbury in England in the group 3 Totepool Sovereign Stakes. Side Glance won by a neck over Dance and Dance in second and the two meet again at Woodbine Sunday.

Right One has won three of four races this year including the grade 3 Jaipur at Belmont Park in July over seven furlongs on the turf. Trained by Christophe Clement, Right One also won the one mile Island Sun Stakes on the Belmont grass.

Another top contender ships in from New York in Turallure, impressive winner of the 1-1/8 mile Benard Baruch Handicap (gr. 2T) at Saratoga. Also a winner of the Opening Verse Stakes at Churchill Downs in July at 1-1/16 miles on the turf, Turallure should have no trouble shortening, having won at a mile at the end of last year.

While the Woodbine Mile has never produced a winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, 2009 Woodbine Mile winner Ventura went on to take the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint that year while racing for llate Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel during some of his final days.

Rahy’s Attorney won the 2008 Woodbine Mile during a Canandian Champion Male Turf Horse that year. The 2005 Woodbine Mile was won by Leroidsanimaux, the American Champion Turf Horse that year and future sire of 2011 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. 1) winner Animal Kingdom. Soaring Free was the Canadian Horse of the Year, Champion Male Turf after winning the 2004 version of this race; and in 1996 Skip Away won the Woodbine Mile on his way to being named American Champion 3-Year-Old Male that year and eventually Horse of the Year in 2008.

The grade 1T Northern Dancer Handicap will be run before the Woodbine Mile and could also have Breeders' Cup implications. The 9-5 favortie in the Northern Dancer Sunday is the Irish-bred Wigmore Hall, fourth in the Arlington Million (gr. 1T) last month behind winner Cape Hope. The well-traveled Wigmore Hall has made starts this year in Singapore, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates. His last three races have been against group 1 competition with his best start a third in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes (gr. 1T) at Medan in late March. Earlier that month he won the Jebel Hatta Stakes, a group 2, 1-1/8 race also at Meydan.

Southern California Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale has shipped Bourbon Bay to Canada from his base in Southern California. In his last race, Bourbon Bay was second in the grade 1 Del Mar Handicap at 1-3/8 miles on the grass behind winner Celtic New Year. Before that he won the grade 2 Courgar II Handicap at Hollywood park July 29. In June, the son of Sligo Bay was a close-up third behind Horse of the Year contender Acclamation and Celtic New Year. Bourbon Bay also won the grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita in January.

Editors Note
The horse Brock, a 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt trained by Steve Asmussen, has been entered into the third race Saturday at Belmont Park. Maiden Special Weight going a mile on the main track.


Anonymous said...

I didn't realize Leroidsanimaux had won the Mile, interesting fact.

Nice post, I think Courageous Cat has the edge in the Woodbine Mile, he's been all class this year. Court Vision seems a step behind his usual self this year but I still like him to get a piece of the action.

Unknown said...

Surprised me as well when I saw that Leroidsanimaux had won the Woodbine Mile.

I'm kind of leaning toward Turallure, but you are right that CC with be difficult to beat.