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Handicapper's Corner

Woodbine Mile Success does not Equal Breeders' Cup Mile Success

As autumn nears, people anticipate cooler temperatures and the changing of the leaves, just as horseplayers look forward to the Breeders’ Cup and the prep races that precede it.  This Sunday, Woodbine Race Course in Toronto, Canada hosts the $1,000,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile contested at 1-mile on the turf as a tune up for the Breeders Cup Mile.  Though the purse is huge for a Breeders’ Cup prep race, the Woodbine Mile has not produced many successful participants on racing’s biggest day.
 
Since being transformed to a 1-mile-grass race for 3-year-olds and up in 1997, the Woodbine Mile has been run 14 times with no horses completing the Woodbine/Breeders’ Cup Mile double.  Furthermore, no Woodbine Mile participants have ever found the winner’s circle on Breeders’ Cup day.  Only 3 horses have come out of the Woodbine Mile to hit the board in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.  The Bill Mott-trained, Geri, won in Toronto and then came back to run 2nd to Spinning World in the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Hollywood Park. Labeeb was victorious in the 1998 Woodbine Mile, but could only manage a 3rd place finish to Da Hoss at Churchill Downs later that fall.  Finally, Good Journey captured Woodbine gold in 2002 only to wind up 3rd to Domedriver at Arlington Park.
 
In that same time frame, the Oak Tree Mile at Santa Anita, of which the purse is only $150,000 this year, has produced 4 Breeders’ Cup Mile winners.  Silic (1999), War Chant (2000) and Val Royal (2001) captured both races, and Singletary captured the Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2004 after running 3rd in the Oak Tree Mile.  In addition, Keeneland’s $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile has produced 3 Breeders’ Cup Mile winners (Artie Schiller in 2005, Miesque’s Approval in 2006 and Kip Deville in 2007) since 1997 as well.  Even though the Woodbine Mile is a rich race, with a deep and competitive field, it has not been a good barometer of Breeders’ Cup success.  This trend does not bode well for Woodbine Mile morning-line favorite, Courageous Cat, even though he gave Goldikova her toughest Breeders Cup challenge on the way to her 3-peat, when he fell ½ length short of Goldikova in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Mile.  Courageous Cat’s prep race that year was a 3rd place effort in the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park.  Though the Breeders’ Cup Mile has been primarily dominated by Europeans, look to runners in other North American prep races to find challengers to attempt to dethrone Goldikova.

 


 

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Older Comments about Woodbine Mile Success does not Equal Breeders' Cup Mile Success...

I think its mainly because the Europeans have a high success rate, but also I don't think many trainers want to ship their horses just for a prep & then ship them again for the Breeders Cup.
Good article. Hmmm.... does not say much for Turallure or Courageous Cat. Any guesses why Woodbine Mile runners have been so unsuccessful at the BC?
Welcome aboard!!! Chicago Dark Horse
Thrilled to have you aboard, Jasen ... nice first piece!

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Meet Jasen Mangrum

My interest in the Sport of Kings goes back over 25 years with my father taking me with his friends to the old Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course in Omaha, NE.  From those early experiences I was able to read the Daily Racing Form before the age of 10.  Once The Woodlands opened in Kansas City in 1988, I became totally hooked on the sport studying racing charts after homework and tennis practice.  In recent years, with the explosion of handicapping tournaments, my love for handicapping the races has risen to a new level.  Primarily focused on New York, Chicago and Louisiana racing, I have now been forced to study races far and wide in attempt to find “cap horses” in the tournaments I play.  I have also dabbled in horse ownership within syndicates and on my own.

 

My fondest memories in racing include Silver Charm’s 1997 Kentucky Derby victory.  Both my father and I selected him, which made for a memorable day.  The best race I’ve seen was Tiznow’s first Breeders Cup Classic win in 2000 when he outdueled Giant’s Causeway down the length of the Churchill Downs stretch.   My biggest windfall as a gambler was a pool-scooping pick-4 win, paying over $6,600 at The Woodlands in 2005.

 

The point of this blog is to get everyone out there a few winners, but also to go in depth at how I come to the conclusions that I do.  From week to week, I’ll explain angles I think are important to locate winners.  I encourage others to post picks they like too, but please explain how you come to your conclusions.  That way everyone can learn a little more about this great game, and add another weapon to their handicapping arsenal.-Best of luck, Jasen Mangrum