One of the biggest races on the Woodbine racing calendar is the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1). Celebrating its 16th renewal in 2012, the Mile is run around one turn of the E.P. Taylor Turf Course for older horses under allowance weights. Past winners such as Leroidesanimaux, Court Vision, Labeeb, Geri, last year's winner Turallure, and the filly Ventura make up part of the race's short but already colorful history. Again the Mile is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" program, with the winner earning an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Mile field at Santa Anita on November 3rd.
Final entries were taken and post positions were drawn in a special lunchtime ceremony at the trackside tent at Woodbine on Thursday, with special guest Rosie MacLennan, as the honorary drawmaster. Trampolinist MacLennan was Canada's only gold medal winner in the 2012 London Olympics, in women's trampoline. The native of King City, Ontario, north of Toronto, she first competed in the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 placing seventh. In an interview with track announcer Dan Loiselle she talked about being inspired by her grandfather, whose Olympic appearance was cancelled due to World War II. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree at the University of Toronto.
A field of 9 made final entry on Thursday morning. Racing secretary Steve Lym drew the numbered pills while MacLennan drew the entry sheets out of the box, in the traditional double-blind system. Wise Dan, the 6-5 favorite on the morning line set by handicapper Jennifer Morrison, drew post 3 and will have regular rider John Velazquez aboard. Trainer Charles Lopresti, who won last year's Mile with Turallure, said, "It's okay by me. He just won from the rail at Saratoga (Fourstardave Handicap). If it was a great big field I might worry about it, but really with only nine horses, I'm glad we didn’t get the one-hole and I wouldn’t want to be all the way on the outside either. I’m happy with it. I’ll let John tell me what he wants to do. He knows him better than anybody. Johnny said to me when you get that horse covered up, he’s a lot better and he relaxes. He did a good job with him the last time. I’ll talk to Johnny and he’ll know what to do. He’s ridden him enough."
The 5-2 second choice on the board is Juddmonte Farms homebred Cityscape, out of post 7. The Roger Charlton trainee is winless since the Dubai Duty Free (G1) at Meydan in March, and comes to Woodbine off a second place finish in the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville. Regular rider James Doyle gets the call on Sunday. Completing the top three on the morning line is top local hope Big Band Sound, who drew the 5 post for trainer Dan Vella at 6-1. After a series of runner-up finishes he finally got to the winner's circle in the Play the King (G2) on August 26, the main local prep for the Mile. Tyler Pizarro will be in the irons.
The undercard feature is the $500,000 Northern Dancer Turf Presented by VTech (G1) for older horses going 1 1/2 miles on the turf, carded as race 8 with a post time of 4:37pm ET, the major local prep for the Pattison Canadian International (G1) to be run on October 14. A field of 8 were entered, with German invader Scalo the 2-1 morning line favorite out of post 4. He was fourth in the Grosser Preis der Wirtschaft (G3) then came to Woodbine to finish a close third in the Sky Classic. Jockey Umberto Rispoli gets the return call for trainer Andreas Wohler. Leading the local contingent is 5-2 second choice Musketier drawing the 6 post, with John Velazquez in the irons for trainer Roger Attfield. He won the Singspiel (G3) then shipped to Arlington to finish second in the Stars and Stripes (G2) last out.
Kicking off the stakes action on Mile day is the $300,000 Canadian Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the turf, carded as race 5 with a 3:05pm post time. It is the local prep for the E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1). 9 distaffers face the starter on Sunday, including Ron McAnally-trained All Star Heart in post 5, second in the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar last out, and Matchmaker Stakes (G3) winner Laughing out of post 2 for Alan Goldberg. Before the Northern Dancer, a field of 9 three-year-olds compete in the Ontario Derby (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on the Polytrack.
Free past performances are available for the full card
- Woodbine Mile - look for Hollinger
- Northern Dancer Turf - look for Forte Dei Marmi
- Canadian Stakes - look for Smart Sting
- Ontario Derby - look for Colleen's Sailor
The Woodbine Mile will be on Sunday September 16 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, with the first race going off at 1:05pm ET and the Woodbine Mile going off as race 10 at 5:42pm. The full card will be simulcast across North America, including on HPI-TV in Canada and TVG Network in the U.S. In addition, the Mile and Northern Dancer will be shown live in a special 2-hour telecast on The Score network in Canada from 4:00-6:00pm ET.
Below are the entries with post positions and morning line odds for the Woodbine Mile (includes links to profiles) and the Northern Dancer Turf.
|The Woodbine Mile (G1) $1,000,000|
|1||Riding the River||Dave Cotey||Patrick Husbands||10-1|
|2||Dance And Dance||Ed Vaughan||Garrett Gomez||12-1|
|3||Wise Dan||Charles Lopresti||John Velazquez||6-5|
|4||Artic Fern||Mike Keogh||Justin Stein||20-1|
|5||Big Band Sound||Dan Vella||Tyler Pizarro||6-1|
|6||Hunters Bay||Reade Baker||Emma-Jayne Wilson||15-1|
|7||Cityscape||Roger Charlton||James Doyle||5-2|
|8||Hollinger||Roger Attfield||Alex Solis||20-1|
|9||Worthadd||Sir Mark Prescott||Luis Contreras||8-1|
The Northern Dancer Turf (G1) $500,000
|1||Celtic Conviction||Mike Doyle||Jesse Campbell||20-1|
|2||Ojibway Signal||David Bell||Luis Contreras||20-1|
|3||Al Khali||Bill Mott||Garrett Gomez||3-1|
|4||Scalo||Andreas Woehler||Umberto Rispoli||2-1|
|5||Forte Dei Marmi||Roger Attfield||Alex Solis||8-1|
|6||Musketier||Roger Attfield||John Velazquez||5-2|
|7||Wigmore Hall||Michael Bell||Jamie Spencer||6-1|
|8||Irish Mission||Mark Frostad||Justin Stein||10-1|