Blue Heaven Farm's 7-year-old mare and reigning Canadian Horse of the Year Starship Jubilee locked up a bid in the Breeders' Cup Mile on Saturday when knocking off males in the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile at Woodbine Race Course.
Sent off the 5-1 fourth choice in the eight-horse field, Starship Jubilee and new rider Justin Stein settled in mid-pack behind opening fractions of :23.66 and :46.14 set by Admiralty Pier on firm turf, while favorite War of Will stalked to his outside.
War of Will began to carve into the lead on the turn and had drawn to even terms with Admiralty Pier after six furlongs completed in a sharp 1:09.12. While War of Will started to edge clear of Admiralty Pier through the lane, Starship Jubilee had been angled to the outside for clear racing room and in short order had surged past last year's Preakness Stakes winner and held off a fast closing March to the Arch to win by a length.
“Sitting inside the three-eighths pole, around the 5/16ths pole, I had tons, and I waited for a chance to tip her out and ask her to run,” Stein said.
“She's so honest and wants to win more than anybody else out there," he added. "I watched her replays… she's just gritty. She just waited for her cue and took off like a scalded cat. She was gone.”
Starship Jubilee completed the trip in 1:32.06 and paid $13.50 for trainer Kevin Attard. March to the Arch, who rallied from last to get the place, was followed across the wire by War of Will and Olympic Runner -- all from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse.
With the win, Starship Jubilee earns an all-expenses paid trip to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Keeneland Race Course on Nov. 7.
"This mare doesn't get the respect she deserves...I was really disappointed to see her at 6-1 on the board," Attard told TVG immediately after the race. "Time and time again she comes up and proves she's a top horse in North America."
The win is the fifth in six starts this season for Starship Jubilee with the lone blemish being a fourth-place finish in the Diana (G1) most recently at Saratoga. The 7-year-old daughter of Indy Wind was a $16,000 claim back in 2017 at Gulfstream Park by Tino Attard, Kevin Attard's father and a fellow trainer. She was subsequently entered in the 2018 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, but failed to meet her reserve on a final bid of $425,000. She was later sold privately to Bonnie Baskin's Blue Heaven Farm.
With the Woodbine Mile win, Starship Jubilee surpasses $2 million in earnings and ups her record to 38: 19-5-3.
Last year, Starship Jubilee took home the Sovereign Award as Canada's Horse of the Year after winning three stakes, including her only previous Grade 1 in the E.P. Taylor. She was also named Canada's champion female turf horse in both 2017 and 2018.