Imperial Monarch, Reliable Man, Joshua Tree and
Wigmore Hall head a highly-competitive cast of 11 for the $1.5 million,
Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International on the richest day of the
thoroughbred racing season in Canada, Sunday at Woodbine.
In addition to the mile and one-half Pattison,
Canada’s richest horse race, two other turf stakes will highlight the
undercard - the $1 million, Grade 1 E.P. Taylor, at one mile and
one-quarter for fillies and mares, and the six furlong, $500,000 Grade 1
Nearctic, for three-year-olds and upward.
All three stakes are also Breeders’
Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ races, meaning the winners earn all-expenses
paid berths into their respective Breeders’ Cup contests, November 2 and
3 at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California.
The 75th edition of the International will go postward at 5:44 pm ET. The
Score will provide special two-hour live coverage across Canada of the
racing extravaganza from Woodbine from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm ET. This
marks the 10th year that Pattison Outdoor, Canada's largest outdoor
advertising company, has sponsored Woodbine’s turf classic, which
rewards the winner with $900,000. All horses carry 126 pounds, except three-year-old Imperial Monarch at 119, and four-year-old filly Lay Time, at 123.
Summer Mortimer, Canada’s double gold medallist
in swimming at the recent 2012 Paralympic Games in London, was the guest
drawmaster when the post position draw took place Thursday at
Trainer Aidan O’Brien, who seeks a record-tying
third International victory (which would tie him with Pete McCann,
Horatio Luro and Maurice Zilber), after winning with Ballingarry in 2002
and Joshua Tree in 2010, is represented by Irish-bred Imperial Monarch
(PP10, 3-1), a three-year-old son of champion Galileo.
Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and
Derrick Smith, Imperial Monarch has been idle since winning the Group 1
Grand Prix de Paris, July 14 at Longchamp. Since 1958, 13 three-year-olds have prevailed in the International. Imperial
Monarch, a winner of three in four starts, will try to win the race in
just his fifth career outing, matching Phoenix Reach, the 2003 winner. He’ll be ridden by champion jockey Ryan Moore for the first time.
“I think he’s had so little racing that he’s still learning (about a preferred racing style). The last time, he made it (the pace). It didn’t bother him,” said T.J. Comerford, assistant trainer for O’Brien. “He’s got a great temperament. I just hope we see him at his best on Sunday. He’s been off (for three months) but at the same time, we’re getting him here thinking we’ve got him spot on. He’s got loads of ability. It depends on how competitive a race it is.”
British-bred but French-based Reliable Man (PP7,
4-1), a four-year-old son of champion Dalakhani, is a four-time winner
in 11 starts, including the Group 1 French Derby in 2011 for trainer
Alain De Royer-Dupre. Although he hasn’t won in over a
year, when taking the Group 2 Prix Niel, Reliable Man, owned by Fair
Salinia, has been facing some of Europe’s best this year, finishing
fourth to So You Think in the Prince of Wales Stakes in June, and fourth
to last year’s Arc winner Danedream in July’s King George VI and Queen
Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Olivier Peslier, a four-time
winner of the Arc, including this year’s shocker aboard 33-1 Solemia,
will ride the career earner of over $1.6 million.
Joshua Tree (PP8, 5-1), who won the 2010 edition
of the Pattison as the 9-2 third choice, makes his third consecutive
appearance, after finishing second last year to longshot Sarah Lynx. Trained
by Marco Botti for owners Khalid Nabooda and Kamel Albahou, the
Irish-bred five-year-old son of champion Montjeu (who also sired last
year’s winner) enters off a close third-place finish to Orfevre in the
Prix Foy last month at Longchamp in Paris, France. Orfevre went on to finish a close second in last Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
“(In the Prix Foy) I thought he was in very good form,” said Botti. “He seems to be coming into his best recently. I haven’t trained many horses as tough as he is. He loves the travelling. You put him on a plane and he seems to enjoy it.”
Legendary jockey Frankie Dettori, who was aboard
Joshua Tree last time out, retains the mount as he seeks a third
Pattison win, after victories aboard Mutafaweq in 2000 and Sulamani in
2004. He’d join Robert Watson (1942-44) as the only
three-time winning jockeys of the International, but the only one to do
so since it became a turf race in 1958.
Joshua Tree, the field’s leading
money winner with over $2.1 million, looks to become just the third
horse since 1958 to win the International twice, joining George Royal
(1965-66) and Majesty’s Prince (1982, 1984), in what will be his 10th
start of the year in a busy campaign which began in Dubai in February.
Wigmore Hall (PP6, 6-1), owned by Mark Hawtin
and trained by Michael Bell, successfully defended his title in the
Grade 1 Northern Dancer here last month, holding off Pattison rival Al
Khali by a neck. The five-year-old gelded Irish-bred son
of High Chaparral, the field’s second biggest money winner with over
$1.9 million, also won the 2011 edition of the Northern Dancer by a neck
and will once again be ridden by Jamie Spencer, who was aboard for both
“This (the International) will obviously be a better race,” stated Bell. “But
I think the environment there really suits him. He's also been given
two really blinding rides by Jamie Spencer. We'll see how he gets on
when upped in class.”
There will be three U.S. representatives in the Pattison – Air Support, Al Khali and Prince Will I Am.
Stuart Janney III’s homebred Air Support (PP11,
10-1), trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, comes into the race
fresh from a score in the Grade 2, mile and one-quarter Bowling Green,
September 8 at Belmont Park. The four-year-old son of
Smart Strike will be ridden by Javier Castellano, who notched the
biggest mutuel upset in Pattison history, taking the 2008 edition aboard
29-1 Marsh Side.
Al Khali (PP9, 10-1), to be ridden by Garrett
Gomez for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, just missed to Wigmore Hall in
the Northern Dancer and was a hard-luck fourth, just three-quarters of a
length behind Joshua Tree, in the 2010 Pattison. Owned
by Brous Stable and Wachtel Stable, the seven-time winning six-year-old
son of Medaglia d’Oro is approaching the $1 million mark in career
earnings, with $967,234. Gomez won the 2009 Pattison aboard Champs Elysees while Mott trained 1995 winner Lassigny.
Casa Farms I’s Prince Will I Am (PP5, 20-1),
trained by Calgary-born Michelle Nihei, won the Grade 1 Jamaica back in
2010 and was also second in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon. North
America’s leading money-winning rider, Ramon Dominguez, will be aboard
the five-year-old son of Victory Gallop, a 2010 inductee into the
Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
The local contingent consists of a single entry, Forte Dei Marmi (PP3, 15-1), trained by dual Hall of Famer Roger Attfield. Owned
by Stella Perdomo, the British-bred six-year-old son of Selkirk, won
the Grade 2 Sky Classic at Woodbine on August 19, before finishing third
to Wigmore Hall in the Northern Dancer. Recent U.S.
Racing Hall of Fame inductee John Velazquez rides for Attfield, who has
been second in the International on three occasions – with Spice Route
in 2008, with Alywow in 1994 and Steady Power in 1989.
Group 1 winner Scalo (PP4, 12-1),
trained by Andreas Wohler for Gestut Ittlingen, has been based at
Woodbine since the early fall, finishing third to Forte Dei Marmi in the
Sky Classic, then fourth to Wigmore Hall in the Northern Dancer. The
British-bred five-year-old son of German champion Lando will be ridden
for the first time by Andrasch Starke, who won the Arc last year aboard
British-bred Dandino (PP2, 8-1), a recent Group 3
winner over Kempton’s synthetic course for trainer James Fanshawe,
makes his Canadian debut. Owned by Elite Racing Club, the
five-year-old son of Dansili is a seven-time winner in 20 outings and
will be ridden by Jim Crowley.
Robert Barnett’s Lay Time (PP1, 20-1), trained
by Andrew Balding, is the only filly in the field and will try to become
the second consecutive female (and seventh overall since 1958) to win
the Pattison, following in the hoofprints of last year’s winner, Sarah
Lynx. The four-year-old British-bred daughter of Galileo,
once again partnered by Jimmy Fortune, is a Group 3 winner who finished
a good fifth to the highly-regarded The Fugue in the Group 1 Nassau
Stakes at Goodwood in August. Balding trained 2003 Pattison International winner Phoenix Reach.
Since 1958, U.S.-breds have captured 27 editions, followed by Irish-breds (11) and British-breds (seven).
The stakes record for the mile and one-half over
the E.P. Taylor Turf Course is 2:25 3/5 seconds, set by Juddmonte
Farms' Raintrap in 1994. The largest winning margin still
belongs to the incomparable Secretariat, when 'Big Red' coasted home by
six and one-half lengths in his farewell appearance in 1973. He is also
the shortest-priced winner in history, paying $2.40. Favourites
have won the International 21 of 54 times (38.9%) since 1958, the last
to do so being Champs Elysees, at 5-2 in 2009, and before him, Sulamani,
the 4-5 choice in 2004.
The Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes will
go postward at 4:38 pm and has drawn a field of 13, headed by Siyouma,
Dream Peace, Princess Highway and Barefoot Lady. The Grade
1, $500,000 Nearctic Stakes, at 3:04 pm ET pm, also attracted 11
hopefuls, including two European fillies, three-year-old Fire Lilly and
four-year-old Night Carnation.