Godolphin's mission for its Dubawi colt was to earn a Grade 1 victory after a couple placings in Group 1 competition in Europe. As a bonus Master Of The Seas also earned a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.
Whether trainer Charlie Appleby decides to return to North America remains to be seen, but the team present at Woodbine certainly was happy with what it saw from Master Of The Seas’s 3 3/4-length victory over the field's only Grade 1 winner Shirl’s Speight.
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“We came here to do this, to get a Grade 1 win, and it’s nice to see him do it,” assistant trainer Alex Merriam said. “He deserved a Grade 1. ... Charlie had targeted this race since early summer. It suits us on the calendar since he runs well fresh, and now we know he can handle this ship. We’re already halfway to Santa Anita. We’ll regroup, and if he tells us he's ready for the Breeders’ Cup, then we'll look at it.”
Master Of The Seas’s only anxious moment came immediately after the start when he bobbled, but he had several things working in his favor, namely a short field, jockey William Buick and that he was just much the best.
“He’s normally a good horse at the break, so that was a little different, but I knew I just had to find a clear path, and we’d be fine,” Buick said. “He adapted great and did what I needed him to do and showed he was much the best.”
Master Of the Seas was last of six through a rather pedestrian pace of 23.68 and 47.32 seconds, settling on the inside down the backstretch before moving into the three path for clear run. He was about a length off the leaders turning for home through six furlongs in 1:10.87 and just spurted away from the field to complete a mile at 1:33.79 on a turf course rated as good.
“He showed today what he’s capable of,” Buick said. “Hope he can keep it going, because he showed he’s a Grade 1 racehorse.”
“Obviously the Breeders’ Cup would be a lot tougher, but he ran so well here, of course we’re going to consider it,” Merriam said.
Shirl’s Speight dug in resolutely to pass Lucky Score late for second but was never a threat to the winner once they separated.
“I was in a comfortable position on the far turn, and then (Master Of The Seas) got the jump on me, and it was over,” Shirl’s Speight jockey John Velazquez said. “That’s not an excuse, though. We were beat easy, but we dug in. The top two are good horses.”
Trainer Roger Attfield was happy to hear Velazquez say Charles Fipke’s horse dug in.
“He got fat when he was overseas (in Japan and Dubai), and we’ve been trying to get that late kick back,” Attfield said. “This is another step forward.”
Attfield said the Coolmore Turf Mile (G1) on Oct. 7 at Keeneland could be next, or the horse could target a rematch with Master Of The Seas by training up to the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Saturday’s result gave Appleby seven Grade 1 wins at Woodbine from his last eight tries. The lone loss came Saturday in the Natalma Stakes that preceded the Woodbine Mile, which he won last year with Modern Games.
Coverage of the Woodbine Mile at Horse Racing Nation was made possible by a sponsorship by Woodbine Entertainment Group.