September 16, 2010
One of the biggest races on the Woodbine racing calendar is the $1 million Woodbine Mile (G1). Celebrating its 14th renewal in 2010, 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, Labeeb, Geri, and last year's winner Ventura make up part of the race's short but already colorful history. Like last year, 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 Churchill Downs on November 6th.
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 Dion Phaneuf, as the honorary drawmaster. Phaneuf was recently named as the 1th captain in Toronto Maple Leaf history. Drafted 9th overall in the 2003 Entry Draft, the 2-time All-Star was traded to the Leafs in a 7-player trade with Calgary on January 31, 2010. In an interview on stage with track announcer Dan Loiselle, Phaneuf mentioned his involvement with harness racing in Prince Edward Island. He said, "I did own a horse a few years ago with my grandfather. He's been in the horse racing business for a long time, 30 some years, down in the States. He's raced here before. My experience wasn't that good. My horse never raced. He got hurt training. But I've been involved and been around horses for a long time, so it's exciting to be here. I go to the races quite a bit actually there with my grandfather when he's back on the island. It's a fun night out to see them race. I go to both tracks there, Summerside and Charlottetown."
A field of 13 made final entry on Thursday morning. Racing secretary Steve Lym drew the numbered pills while Phaneuf drew the entry sheets out of the box, in the traditional double-blind system. The Usual Q.T. drew post 11 for trainer James Cassidy as the 3-1 favorite on the morning let set by handicapper Jennifer Morrison. Last year the California-bred won the Oak Tree Derby (G2) and the Hollywood Derby (G1), while this year he won the Eddie Read (G1) before finishing 5th in the Pacific Classic (G1). Cassidy said, "I was really impressed with the Eddie Read. The Woodbine Mile is right up his alley. He can attend the pace regardless of what the pace is. He has a pretty good move and it seems to be working." Regular rider Victor Espinoza will be in the irons again for owner Don Van Racing Inc.
In to challenge him include 7-2 second choice Court Vision, winless since the Shadwell Mile (G1) last October and 6th in the Manhattan (G1) last out, 4-1 third choice Victor's Cry, winner of the Shoemaker Mile (G1) before finishing second in the Eddie Read (G1). Court Vision gets Robby Albarado while Victor's Cry will have Corey Nakatani. 6-1 fourth choice Famous Name represents Europe, flying in from Ireland for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms. He won the Amethyst (G3) and Meld (G3) Stakes before disappointing in 6th in the Irish Champion Stakes (G1), all at Leopardstown in Ireland. Regular rider Patrick Smullen gets the call for trainer Dermot Weld.
The undercard feature is the $750,000 Northern Dancer Turf Presented by VTech for older horses going 1 1/2 miles on the turf, carded as race 8 with a post time of 4:34pm ET, the major local prep for the Canadian International (G1) to be run October 16. Last year's winner (on appeal), Marsh Side, drew the rail and is the 5-2 favorite off his win in the Sky Classic (G2), the major local prep for this race. Edgar Prado gets the call again for trainer Neil Drysdale. In to challenge him include 3-1 second choice Expansion with new jockey Garrett Gomez, fifth in the Sword Dancer (G1) after finishing a close third in the Man O'War (G1), and European shipper Redwood, winner of the Glorious (G3) at Goodwood before finishing second in the Grand Prix de Deauville (G2). Regular rider Michael Hills will be in the irons aboard the 7-2 third choice for trainer Barry Hills.
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 around one turn of the turf course, carded as race 4 at 2:30pm ET. Points of Grace, an allowance winner last out after finishing third in the Dance Smartly (G2), is the 9-5 favorite over 3-1 Miss Keller, third in the Ballston Spa (G2) at Saratoga after winning the De La Rose.
Free past performances are available for all three stakes on the card:
Northern Dancer Turf (from the nominations so ignore the extra horses)
Canadian Stakes (search for Magic Broomstick)
The Woodbine Mile will be on Sunday September 19 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, with the first race going off at 1:00pm ET and the Woodbine Mile going off as race 10 at 5:40pm. 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 3 stakes races will be shown 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||Crowded House||Ben Cecil||Joel Rosario||12-1|
|2||Victor’s Cry||Eoin Harty||Corey Nakatani||4-1|
|3||Zifzaf||James Toner||Julien Leparoux||30-1|
|4||Court Vision||Rick Dutrow||Robby Albarado||7-2|
|5||Straight Story||Alan Goldberg||Rajiv Maragh||12-1|
|6||Smokey Fire||Sid Attard||Jono Jones||15-1|
|7||Signature Red||Sid Attard||Eurico Rosa da Silva||20-1|
|8||Auteur||Barbara Minshall||Mike Smith||50-1|
|9||Riviera Cocktail||Neil Drysdale||Edgar Prado||20-1|
|10||Woodbourne||Robert Tiller||Chantal Sutherland||30-1|
|11||The Usual Q.T.||James Cassidy||Victor Espinoza||3-1|
|12||Famous Name||Dermot Weld||Pat Smullen||6-1|
|13||Grand Adventure||Mark Frostad||Patrick Husbands||8-1|
|The Northern Dancer Turf (G1) $750,000|
|1||Marsh Side||Neil Drysdale||Edgar Prado||5-2|
|2||Windward Islands||Mark Frostad||Chantal Sutherland||8-1|
|3||Expansion||Steve Asmussen||Garrett Gomez||3-1|
|4||Memorial Maniac||Larry Demeritte||James Graham||10-1|
|5||Redwood||Barry Hills||Michael Hills||7-2|
|6||Fifty Proof||Ian Black||Justin Stein||20-1|
|7||Perfect Shower||Roger Attfield||Javier Castellano||15-1|
|8||Spice Route||Roger Attfield||Mike Smith||9-2|
|9||Guipago||Analisa Delmas||Joel Rosario||30-1|