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Breeders' Cup 2017

Wise Dan Strong 6-5 Woodbine Mile Favorite

Wise Dan and jockey John Velazquez win the Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.
Morton Fink’s Wise Dan and Juddmonte Farms’ Cityscape headline a solid field of nine for Sunday’s Grade 1, $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile.

The 16th 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 coverage of the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes, presented by VTech, live at 4:37 pm.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Ricoh Woodbine Mile is part of the Breeders’ Cup  ‘Win and You’re In’ series and will offer the winner an all-expenses paid berth (entry fees and travel costs) into the Breeders’ Cup Mile, November 3 at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California.

Post positions were drawn Thursday at Woodbine with guest drawmaster Rosie MacLennan, Canada’s sole gold medallist (Individual Trampoline) at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

Wise Dan (PP3, 6-5), trained by Charles Lopresti, will try to give his trainer a second straight Woodbine Mile triumph, after conditioning last year’s winner, Turallure. Wise Dan is fresh from a five-length romp in the Grade 2 Fourstardave at Saratoga over one mile of yielding turf, August 11.  

In his only other starts this year, the five-year-old homebred gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry crushed his rivals in the mile and one-eighth Ben Ali Stakes over Keeneland’s Polytrack, recording a career high 117 Beyer rating in his opener April 22, then was second, just a head behind Ron the Greek, in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Stakes, June 16 at Churchill Downs.

John Velazquez, who has won the Woodbine Mile twice – with Riviera in 2000 and Leroidesanimaux in 2005, once again has the mount aboard the versatile Wise Dan, who will carry 121 pounds. Wise Dan, a career earner of almost $1.4 million, has won stakes on dirt, turf and Polytrack.

“It’s (post 3) okay by me,” said Lopresti. “He just won from the one-hole at Saratoga.  If it was a great big field I might worry about it.  I’m glad we didn’t get the one-hole and I wouldn’t want to be all the way on the outside either.  I’m happy with it. Johnny (Velazquez) said to me when you get that horse covered up, he’s a lot better and he relaxes.  He did a good job with him the last time.”

Three challengers from Europe have shipped to Woodbine for the Mile - Cityscape, Dance And Dance and Worthadd. Cityscape (PP7, 5-2), a six-year-old Juddmonte British homebred by Selkirk, captured the Group 1, $5 million mile and one-eighth Dubai Duty Free March 31 at Meydan in his season opener and most recently was second to Excelebration in the Group 1, one mile Prix Jacques le Marois, August 12 at Deauville, France.

Overall, he’s taken six of 20 career outings, with eight seconds, for earnings of $4,206,935, far and away the field’s leading money winner. Trained by Roger Charlton, Cityscape, who will carry topweight of 124 pounds, will be ridden by James Doyle, as Juddmonte seeks its second Mile victory after winning the 2009 edition with Ventura.

“He shipped really good,” said John Da Costa, assistant trainer for Charlton. “He’s really settled in.  He’s taking on plenty of fluids. Wilson (de Souza), his regular exercise rider, is delighted with him. He’s moving great.  We know Wise Dan is a wonderful horse. We really respect him. It’s going to be a tough race. But our fellow is good right now.”

Trainer Dan Vella will saddle Kendel Standlee’s Big Band Sound (PP5, 6-1), an impressive two and one-half length winner over Mile rival Riding the River in the seven furlong Play the King Stakes, considered a key prep for the Mile, at Woodbine on August 26.  The five-year-old son of Bernstein has been positively consistent this year, winning twice and finishing second four times in seven outings. He’ll be ridden by Tyler Pizarro.

Riding the River (PP1, 10-1), trained by Dave Cotey, won both the Grade 2 King Edward and Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine in June and July, respectively, before finishing second to Big Band Sound in the Play the King.  The five-year-old gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry will be ridden by Patrick Husbands, who was aboard 2001 Mile winner Numerous Times. He’s owned by Dominion Bloodstock, HGHR Inc. and Linmac Farm and has banked over $600,000 from eight wins in 19 starts.

Stronach Stables’ Hunters Bay (PP6, 15-1), winner of the Grade 3 Eclipse and Dominion Day Stakes this year over Woodbine’s Polytrack, will make his turf debut for trainer Reade Baker.   Should he win, he’ll become the first horse to capture the Woodbine Mile without previous grass experience. The five-year-old son of Ghostzapper exits a seventh place finish to Fort Larned in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Whitney Stakes, August 4.  Emma-Jayne Wilson rides.

Worthadd (PP9, 8-1), trained by Sir Mark Prescott for owner Diego Romeo, has earned almost $1 million, most of which came in the 2010 Italian Derby.  The five-year-old Irish-bred son of Dubawi also caught a brief glimpse of superhorse Frankel this year, finishing 20 lengths behind the unbeaten Juddmonte marvel in the Group 1 Queen Anne at Ascot in June. He’ll be ridden by Luis Contreras.

Mohammed Rashid’s Dance And Dance (PP2, 12-1), an Irish-bred six-year-old gelded son of Royal Applause, makes a return Mile appearance for trainer Ed Vaughan, after finishing a troubled sixth to Turallure last year, beaten just one and three-quarter lengths. He’ll be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who has twice won the Mile – aboard Ventura in 2009 and with Shakespeare in 2007.

Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, who has won a record-tying eight Queen’s Plates but has yet to win the Mile, will send out Hollinger (PP8, 20-1), once again, after an eighth place finish last year. Owned by Robert Harvey and Al Wortzman, Hollinger was Canada’s champion two-year-old male of 2009, when he was undefeated in four starts, winning the rich Cup and Saucer and Coronation Futurity. The five-year-old gelded son of Black Minnaloushe will be ridden by Alex Solis. Harvey and Wortzman were co-owners of Committee Stable’s Numerous Times, winner of the 2001 Mile.

Gustav Schickedanz’s Artic Fern (PP4, 20-1), trained by Mike Keogh, completes the field.   Most recently fourth to Big Band Sound in the Play the King, the five-year-old gelded son of Langfuhr, a seven-time winner in 16 career outings, will be handled by Justin Stein.

Hollinger or Artic Fern would become the fifth Canadian-bred to win the Mile, joining Rahy’s Attorney (2008), Soaring Free (2004), Numerous Times (2001) and Quiet Resolve (1999).

The stakes record time for the Woodbine Mile is 1:32.04, set by Ventura in 2009 when she became the first and only filly or 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 15 editions - Soaring Free in 2004, Leroidesanimaux in 2005 and Shakespeare in 2007.


Three horses which raced in the Woodbine Mile went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile - 2007 runner-up Kip Deville, Silic (1999), who had finished fifth, and 2010 Woodbine Mile winner Court Vision, who captured the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile after finishing seventh at Woodbine. Four other Woodbine Mile winners - Geri (1997), Touch of the Blues (2003), Leroidesanimaux (2005) and Turallure (2011) all went on to finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

The $500,000 Northern Dancer Stakes, at one and one-half miles for three-year-olds and upward, drew eight hopefuls, including two Roger Attfield trainees - the 10-year-old stakes-winning Musketier and recent Sky Classic victor Forte Dei Marmi, along with last year’s winner, Wigmore Hall.

Meanwhile, another major turf stakes event on the undercard, the Grade 2 $300,000 Canadian Stakes, has attracted a wide-open group of fillies and mares for the mile and one-eighth contest, headed by Laughing, Kapitale and Smart Sting. Post time is 3:05 pm.


Post time for the first of 11 races on Sunday’s card is set for 1:05 pm.  As part of a special Ricoh Woodbine Mile Day promotion, many of Woodbine’s jockeys will be at the front gates to welcome racing fans, beginning at 11:45 am.



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Older Comments about Wise Dan Strong 6-5 Woodbine Mile Favorite...

Round table toted big weight and ran on several surfaces.
Laz. Agree with you about Round Table being overlooked by not being in the top ten
The European contingent is usually stronger, BUT theweather there and that VERY SHORT STRETCH for them to over come
Just imagine Wise Dan for the Mile and Point Of Entry for the Turf, Bring on the Euro's
Footlick, no argument from me about making the effort. I firmly believe that the main reason N/A’s never made the effort was because of a total lack of confidence on turf. Over and out.
Buckpasser your comments about Round Table were expected, but I was only listing Bloodhorse’s Top 10. To me, Round Table’s exclusion from the Bloodhorse top ten is ridiculous and perhaps makes a point about how North Americans feel about turf racing as opposed to dirt. I firmly believe that if his career had been defined by his turf record alone he would have been a top ten for sure. Round Table won HOY in 1958 when he made 20 total starts with 14 on dirt and 6 on Turf. He was voted top Turf Horse in 57-58-59, and top Handicap Horse in 58-59. And I believe that when he retired he was N/A’s all-time money winning leader. He was a great dirt horse, but had the misfortune of being part of perhaps N/A’s best and deepest overall three year old crop of 1957. His turf record should be envied anywhere throughout the world. He made 16 total turf starts and won 14 and lost two, one by a half length to Clem when carrying 130 lbs. to Clem’s 113. His other loss was in the Washington Birthday when he cut himself and finished 16th and last by 30 lengths. He was laid up for four months before returning to win the Citation Handicap on dirt in 1.33 2/5 while again carrying 130 lbs. and giving the runner up 26 lbs. He was a great weight carrier, often carrying 130 lbs. or more and always giving away great chunks of weight. He set or tied several track records and 16 times had the best three year time at various distances at various tracks. He won on both soft as well as firm going on turf. I can’t say for sure, but I believe that his 1.58 3/5ths on dirt as a three year old in the ’57 HGC at 10F might have been the best at that distance until The Bid broke it in the Strub Stakes. I firmly believe that he was a world class turf horse in any era and is my all-time favorite N/A turf horse ahead of Manila, Lure, Fort Marcy and Hawaii/ Assagai tied.
Buckpasser-Damascus ran a bang up race in the DC International. May Whittingham trainees would occasionally make a different surface start.
you know what Laz, since i hit the wrong key on my computer, instead of finishing my post I'm just going to tell you to believe whatever you want. I'm done. They make the effort and we don't reciprocate. And their effort obviously is not appreciated and taken for granted.
Laz- you, if I remember correctly, stated that one of the reasons we do not send our horses to Europe is that our best horses are running on dirt. Europeans don't send their best horses here usually. They sent better horses here when the DC International was running than they do now. Their best horses are pointed to the Arc or now Champions Day in Britain and then go to Japan or Hong Kong or both. The fact that Secretariat, Dr Fager and Kelso could run on both surfaces, as well as the Euro WC winners when it was still run on dirt should tell you that there are horses that can do it. Damascus ran a bang up race in the DC International in his only turf race. Buckpasser's shoes cost him at least 10 lengths, according to Baeza if I remember correctly also, costing him the race. tht
Laz- you, if I remember correctly, stated that one of the reasons we do not send our horses to Europe is that our best horses are running on dirt. Europeans don't send their best horses here usually. They sent better horses here when the DC International was running than they do now. Their best horses are pointed to the Arc or now Champions Day in Britain and then go to Japan or Hong Kong or both. The fact that Secretariat, Dr Fager and Kelso could run on both surfaces, as well as the Euro WC winners when it was still run on dirt should tell you that there are horses that can do it. Damascus ran a bang up race in the DC International in his only turf race. Buckpasser's shoes cost him at least 10 lengths, according to Baeza if I remember correctly also, costing him the race.
Laz. I would add Round Table to your discussion. He excelled at Turf and was considered one of the greatest of all time. But he was also an exemplary performer on dirt as well. He sired top dirt and grass performers and had a world wide influence on the breed. As a small aside his dam Knights Daughter was bred by King George VI.
Footlick, “The Dubai World Cup. Really. How many of the Euro’s were dirt horses? They are turf horses”…..That sounds like a point I was trying to make. Time of the year aside, I wouldn’t expect them to contest the Dubai World Cup on dirt against high quality dirt horses, just like I didn’t expect American horses to compete in the Dubai Duty Free against some of the world’s best turf horses. I’m not trying to denigrate the Euros and I for one always appreciate when they do come over. I am well aware of how many have run in the BCC over the years and yet had virtually no experience on dirt and it showed. It’s not an easy go to ship over here, but neither is the trip from the States to Dubai……The real point I’m trying to make is that personally I have had enough of the feeling that America’s horses are inferior because of their less than exemplary performances against the better European horses on turf when by far the greatest majority of our best horses don’t race on turf. They race on dirt. If you take “America’s top ten thoroughbreds” from the Bloodhorse list, only three of them ever raced on turf; Secretariat (twice, both wins), Dr. Fager (once, win) and Kelso (eight times with 4 wins and three seconds). That’s it. The top ten raced 307 times on dirt as opposed to 11 times on turf. The simple fact is, the best turf horses will never run against the best dirt horses and have an equal chance on dirt, and visa-versa if the races were contested on turf. But it seems that because our best race on dirt, their dirt performances (and lately on synthetics also), apparently means squat when it comes to determining their level of quality.
Yes yukichan- Singspiel was top class and he did win the Japan Cup ad the DWC. But, starting your high class thoroughbred's season with his first race at the end of March is early for Euros. At least imo.
Sorry, missed the point of thread, or partial thread re: x J Cup, Arc and DWC. Singspiel still awesome and unique in his transcontinental accomplishments! Montjeu was one who won the Arc and finished 4th in the Japan Cup. I will add that the Japan Cup has some jawdropping bonuses for those who win or place in various races around the world to entice the best horses to come to Japan and compete. BC Turf, Arc, Arlington Mil winners can pick up an additional 1.2 mil if they win, $508,000 for a place...
not getting me upset. And you are right, they just are not breeding for racing beyond the American microcosm. And you are right about the Japanese breeders. They have studied and learned and invested and it is now paying off. They are breeding high quality horses with stamina. And the sons of Sunday Silence are rocking the breeding shed there.
The great Singspiel won the Japan Cup and went on next year to win the Dubai World Cup...
Footy. Not to get you upset, but I think that american breeders are not the internationalists that they once were. So many top European horses were brought here in the past to improve the breed that I think we still arrogantly think our racing is the best. In the past given the top studs and mares that we brought that was probably true reflected in the bidding wars at our yearling sales. Now that is not true. There just are not breeders on the level of August Belmont, the Phipps, Warren Wright, etc. who raided Europe to bring the best here. I would think that given the buying and breed enhancement that the Japanese are doing, they are the real heirs of the great breeders. I was incredibly impressed with a program on the Japanese training facilities. Ours are something out of the stone age.
You could be right, buckpasser, as in the old days raceday meds weren't allowed here either. If a horse cannot run one race without meds, then should that horse really be running? If they won;t ship across country, are they really going to ship to Europe to put their horses in a strange country, go through quarantine, and run on a course that they have never encountered before? Euros are expected to do it though. Just like the prevalent opinion here that dirt racing is the only racing that counts. Because turf horses in this country are second class citizens, and synthetic horses are third class. I don't want to get started again.
I could see MC running here after all Freddy brought Goldikova here
buckpasser- the last I read Freddy Head was very keen on running her in the BC Mile.

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