Courageous Cat, Court Vision Head Woodbine Mile

Pam and Martin Wygod and W.S. Farish’s Courageous Cat and Spendthrift Farm’s newest acquisition, defending champion Court Vision, headline a field of 12 for Sunday’s $1 million, Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile.

The 15th edition of one of the premier grass races in North America will be televised live across Canada on The Score in a special two-hour presentation from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm ET, with post time scheduled for 5:42 pm. The winner receives $600,000. The telecast will also feature the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes, presented by VTech, live at 4:34 pm.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile is part of the ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, giving the winner a berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile, November 5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.   However, this year there’s a major difference, as the Breeders’ Cup will pay all entry fees and travel costs for the winners of all Challenge races.

Courageous Cat, a Wygod homebred, is trained by Bill Mott and will be ridden by Pat Valenzuela.  Mott won the inaugural Woodbine Mile in 1997 with Geri while Valenzuela took the 2006 Mile aboard Becrux.

The five-year-old son of Storm Cat-Tranquility Lake has been lightly campaigned in his four-year career, with just 13 starts.  But he’s won six of them, including both of his outings this year, the Grade 3 Poker at Belmont Park on June 10 and the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on July 2 at Hollywood Park.   The career earner of $961,300 will also carry top weight of 124 pounds.

Court Vision, a six-year-old son of Gulch-Weekend Storm, is the field’s leading money-winner with over $2.6 million, while winning eight of 29 outings.  He’s won four Grade 1 races – 2008 Hollywood Derby, 2009 Shadwell Turf Mile, 2010 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (through disqualification) and last year’s Woodbine Mile, when he exploded in mid-stretch to defeat The Usual Q.T. by one and one-quarter lengths.

He’ll be making his first start for Spendthrift and trainer Dale Romans, but Robby Albarado, who was aboard for last year’s Mile win, remains aboard.    Court Vision runs well fresh, having taken the 2009 Shadwell Turf Mile off a three-month layoff, then last year’s Woodbine Mile off a similar layoff.  It’s the same scenario this year, since he hasn’t raced since June.   However, he also hasn’t won in five starts since last year’s Mile triumph.

There are three challengers from Europe who have shipped to Woodbine for the Mile - Side Glance, Dance And Dance and Forte Dei Marmi.

British-bred Side Glance, trained by Andrew Balding for owner Pearl Bloodstock, has won three of his five 2011 outings, including the Group 3 Totepool Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury, England on August 11.  The four-year-old gelded son of Passing Glance also finished a good third to the respected Dick Turpin in the Group 2 Summer Mile July 9 at Ascot.  Balding, who trained Phoenix Reach to victory in the 2003 Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine, has named Jimmy Fortune to ride.

Mohammed Rashid’s Dance And Dance, an Irish-bred five-year-old gelded son of Royal Applause, has won once in seven starts this year for trainer Ed Vaughan, but was only a neck behind Side Glance in his last start.   He’ll be ridden by Jamie Spencer.

Forte Dei Marmi, owned by Stella Perdomo, will be saddled by Hall of Famer Roger Attfield.  Although winless in six starts this year in England for trainer Luca Cumani, the five-year-old British-bred son of Selkirk won four of five outings in 2010.    He’ll be ridden by John Velazquez, a two-time Mile winner -  aboard Leroidesanimaux in 2005 and Riviera in 2000.  Attfield, who has won a record-tying eight Queen’s Plates, seeks his first Woodbine Mile win.

4-D Stables’ Turallure, trained by Charles Lopresti and ridden by Julien Leparoux, comes into the Mile fresh from the biggest win in his career, a two and one-quarter length tally over Get Stormy in the Grade 2, mile and one-eighth Bernard Baruch at Saratoga on August 26.   The four-year-old son of 2003 Canadian Horse of the Year Wando has won five of his 14 career starts.

Trainer Christophe Clement, who has enjoyed much success at Woodbine, including a victory in the 2005 Pattison Canadian International with Relaxed Gesture, is sending Ghislaine Head’s French-bred Right One for the Ricoh Woodbine Mile.   The five-year-old gelded son of Anabaa has won three of his four races in North America this year, including the Grade 3 Jaipur at Belmont Park on July 16.   His only loss came at the hands of Courageous Cat in the Poker, when finishing third.

Right One will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who has won the Woodbine Mile twice – with Shakespeare in 2007 and Ventura in 2009.

The five local hopefuls are Grand Adventure, Hollinger, Riding the River, Woodbourne and Kara’s Orientation.  Sam-Son Farm’s Grand Adventure, a five-year-old son of Grand Slam, won the Connaught Cup and King Edward at Woodbine last year but is winless in eight subsequent starts.   Trained by Mark Frostad, the career earner of $761,780 was eighth to Court Vision in this race last year and ninth behind Ventura in the 2009 renewal.

Last year’s Sovereign Award winner (Canada’s top male turfer) will be ridden by Patrick Husbands, who rode Numerous Times to victory in the 2001 Woodbine Mile.   Sam-Son and Frostad have won the Mile twice…with Quiet Resolve in 1999 and Soaring Free in 2004.

Hollinger was Canada’s champion two-year-old of 2009, when he was undefeated in four starts, winning the rich Cup and Saucer and Coronation Futurity.   Also trained by Roger Attfield for owners Robert Harvey and Al Wortzman, the four-year-old gelded son of Black Minnaloushe is winless in six starts since, though.   He’ll be ridden by Tyler Pizarro.   Harvey was a co-owner of Committee Stable’s Numerous Times, winner of the 2001 Mile.

Riding the River, owned by Dominion Bloodstock, HGHR and Partner, most recently finished a closing second, just a neck behind Havelock in the seven furlong Play the King Stakes, August 28 at Woodbine.  Co-owned and trained by Dave Cotey, the four-year-old gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry will be handled by Richard Dos Ramos.

Woodbourne, trained by Robert Tiller for The Very Dry Stable, finished third to Court Vision last year as a 52-1 outsider.   A $50,000 claim in the summer of 2010, Woodbourne, a seven-year-old gelded son of Danzig,  enters the Mile fresh from a victory in a one mile turf allowance/optional claimer on August 20, his first win in four starts this year. If he wins the Mile, he’ll become the oldest horse to do so.  Emma-Jayne Wilson rides.  

Kara’s Orientation, trained by Steven Chircop for owners Max Berketa and Pinnacle Racing, comes into the race fresh from a victory in the mile and one-quarter Sky Classic, August 21 at Woodbine, his first stakes win and third triumph in five starts this year.  Emile Ramsammy rides the four-year-old son of Orientate, who was claimed by his current connections last year for only $20,000.

The stakes record time for the Woodbine Mile is 1:32.04, set by Ventura in 2009 when she became the first filly/mare to win the race.  Quiet Resolve ($91.10 in 1999) is the longest-priced winner while Leroidesanimaux is not only the shortest-priced winner ($3.30) but also established the largest margin of victory, seven and three-quarter lengths, in 2005.

Only three favourites have won the Mile in its first 14 editions - Soaring Free in 2004, Leroidesanimaux in 2005 and Shakespeare in 2007.   Although no Woodbine Mile winner has won the Breeders' Cup Mile, two horses which raced in the Woodbine Mile have won the Breeders’ Cup Mile - 2007 runner-up Kip Deville and Silic (1999), who had finished fifth.   Three other Woodbine Mile winners - Geri (1997), Touch of the Blues (2003) and Leroidesanimaux (2005) - all went on to finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.



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Older Comments about Courageous Cat, Court Vision Head Woodbine Mile...

spread that money around i will cash with cat
Court Vision has won only one race this year and it was the 2010 edition of the Woodbine Mile. He's another year older and other horses are improving at the right time. I like the Side Glance but Courageous Cat appears to be the one to beat. Turallure and Right One deserve some consideration underneath or even as possible upsetters for the win
I think Court Vision's going to be difficult to beat again in this race. But keep an eye on Side Glance, coming to Woodbine from the UK. He's really been rolling along in mile turf races in Europe this season.
Looking to bet on Right One in here..8-1 morning line is enticing.

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