TORONTO, September 14, 2022 – Automatic Breeders’ Cup berths are on the line as star-laden editions of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile, Pattison Summer Stakes, and Johnnie Walker Natalma Stakes headline Saturday’s outstanding card of racing at Woodbine.
The 26th running of the Mile, worth $1 million and contested over the world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course, has attracted an accomplished field of 11 hopefuls. The Mile and a replay of the Pattison Summer will be showcased on a live broadcast airing on TSN4 and TSN5 from 5-6 p.m. ET.
Under the terms of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series, the Woodbine Mile winner will be entitled to a fees-paid berth for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile, to be run on November 5 at Keeneland. The winner of the $500,000 Johnnie Walker Natalma Stakes, for 2-year-old fillies, will be entitled to a fees-paid berth for the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 4, while the winner of the $500,000 Pattison Summer Stakes, for 2-year-olds, receives the same opportunity for the $2 million Juvenile Turf, also on November 4.
Once again, the Mile has attracted a formidable group of turf talents, a combination of local and international standouts, accompanied by some of the highest profile trainers and jockeys in the sport.
From a Breeders’ Cup victor, to a local defending Mile winner, to a two-time Canadian Horse of the Year, to four Irish-breds and two Brazilian-breds, this year’s race serves up several intriguing storylines.
Godolphin’s Modern Games (IRE) will be making his first appearance back in North America since his memorable Breeders’ Cup triumph. Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby will be looking to duplicate their Woodbine success from 2021, as they hit the Pattison Canadian International, Summer and Natalma trifecta.
William Buick will make the trip to ride for Godolphin and Appleby on Saturday.
“We feel that Modern Games will be suited to the E.P. Taylor Turf course because of his versatility,” said Appleby. “He has shown he can perform on tracks internationally and in Europe.”
The son of Dubawi (IRE)-Modern Ideals, who sports a record of 5-2-1 from 10 starts, won four straight races starting last September through to this May.
As for the 3-year-old’s best attributes, Appleby landed on a trio of skills.
“His professionalism that he has shown to date, versatility and class,” said the trainer, who chose Modern Games’ Grade 1 triumph at Longchamp this May as the horse’s most impressive win to date. “He’s a progressive horse that every time he was set a challenge, he stepped up again.”
Owned by Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I, Ivar (BRZ), a two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile participant, brings a record of 6-0-2 from 12 starts into the Mile. Trained by Paulo Lobo, the 6-year-old son of Agnes Gold (JPN)-May Be Now arrives at Saturday’s race off a win in the $100,000 Jonathan Schuster Memorial Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis, posting a one-length score in the 1 1/16-mile trek, in a track-record time of 1:39.49.
“When he would race in Argentina, he knows very well how to run a mile with one turn,” said Lobo. “It [E.P. Taylor] reminds me a little bit of the course at San Isidro in Argentina, which he used to run on. He’s very accustomed to that, so I believe he will enjoy the course at Woodbine.
“His turn of foot is what comes to mind first for me,” continued Lobo. “He can really put in a powerful late run. Hopefully, there can be some strong early pace and it will set up nicely for him.”
Well-travelled Wakanaka (IRE), owned by Team Valor and Gary Barber, took to the E.P. Taylor Turf Course on July 24 and delivered her connections, including trainer Bill Mott, an impressive win in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly Stakes. The 4-year-old daughter of Power (GB)-Storyline (IRE) sports a record of 7-4-1 from 13 career starts.
Trainer Mark Casse, who won back-to-back runnings of the race, in 2016 with Tepin and in 2017 with World Approval, will chase his third Mile victory with a pair of runners.
March to the Arch, a 7-year-old son of Arch-Daveron (GER), ran second in the 2020 Mile and was fourth last year. The Live Oak homebred, who has three stakes triumphs on the Woodbine green, is 8-5-4 from 33 starts.
Casse’s other chance for Mile glory comes in the form of Get Smokin, a graded stakes winner in both 2020 and 2021. The 5-year-old chestnut son of Get Stormy-Hookah Lady is 4-5-2 from 20 starts for Ironhorse Racing Stable, BlackRidge Stables, T-N-T Equine Holdings, and Saratoga Seven Racing Partners. This will be the gelding’s first test over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Finest Sound, a 5-year-old son of Exceed And Excel-Amplifier, is chasing his first stakes win for owner-breeder Sheikh Mohammed Obaid al-Maktoum. His resume includes a trio of runner-up finishes in group events, including the Group 1 Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline. The Simon and Ed Crisford trainee has recorded 16 top-three efforts from 20 starts and has posted a win, two seconds and a third in his past four engagements.
Team Valor International’s Homer Screen (BRZ) won five of his six starts in Brazil before heading to the U.S. to compete. The late-closing 6-year-old son of Adriano-Smile Jenny (BRZ) is 5-1-0 from 10 lifetime races. The chestnut, trained by Neil Drysdale, was second, at 28-1, in the Grade 3 American at Santa Anita on June 19.
Mighty Heart, two-time (2020-21) Canadian Horse of the Year, will look to get back to his winning ways in the Mile. Trained by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Josie Carroll, the 5-year-old son of Dramedy-Emma’s Bullseye has contested nine consecutive graded events, winning the Grade 2 Autumn last November at Woodbine. The one-eyed bay, bred and owned by Larry Cordes, is 6-2-5 from 20 starts.
A five-time winner, along with two thirds, from 12 starts, Shirl’s Speight rhymed off three straight trips to the winner’s circle from January 15 to April 15, capped off by a gutsy nose nod in the Grade 1 Makers Mark Mile. Under the tutelage of dual Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, the 5-year-old son of Speightstown-Perfect Shirl won his debut, a 7-furlong race over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, on July 4, 2020, by eight lengths.
Local hero Town Cruise, a 7-year-old son of Town Prize-Candy Cruise, wired last year’s field in the Woodbine Mile, delivering Brandon Greer, who trains, owns, and co-bred with his father Terry, the biggest win of his career. The chestnut gelding has fashioned a record of 6-2-1 from 17 career starts. Daisuke Fukumoto, aboard for last year’s 8-1 victory, gets the call on Saturday.
Owned by Bruno Schickedanz and trained by Norm McKnight, War Bomber (IRE), a 4-year-old son of War Front-Sun Shower (IRE) rolls into the Mile off an 18-1 upset in the Grade 3 main track Seagram Cup on August 14 at Woodbine. The bay gelding, claimed by Schickedanz for $25,000 last August, brings a mark of 5-0-1 from 11 starts into Saturday’s race.
The Ricoh Woodbine Mile program will also feature the Grade 3 $150,000 Seaway Stakes, for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up. Ten starters will chase top prize in the 7-furlong main track event.
Previews of the Summer and Natalma will be posted and distributed tomorrow.
First race post time on Saturday is set for 1:10 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app. For more information, visit Woodbine.com.
$1 MILLION RICOH WOODBINE MILE (Grade 1) – Race 9
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Mighty Heart – Justin Stein – Josie Carroll
2 – Ivar (BRZ) – Joe Talamo – Paulo Lobo
3 – Wakanaka (IRE) – Manuel Franco – William Mott
4 – Finest Sound (IRE) – Andrea Atzeni – Simon Crisford
5 – Modern Games (IRE) – William Buick – Charles Appleby
6 – Shirl’s Speight – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Roger Attfield
7 – Homer Screen (BRZ) – Joe Bravo – Neil Drysdale
8 – Get Smokin – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
9 – War Bomber (IRE) – Sahin Civaci – Norm McKnight
10 – Town Cruise – Daisuke Fukumoto – Brandon Greer
11 – March to the Arch – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
$500,000 JOHNNIE WALKER NATALMA (Grade 1) – Race 10
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Cairo Consort – Antonio Gallardo – Nathan Squires
2 – Collecting Flatter – Justin Stein – Josie Carroll
3 – G Laurie – Manuel Franco – Graham Motion
4 – Last Call – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard
5 – Adora – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
6 – Wickenheiser – Luis Contreras – Kevin Attard
7 – Courtly Ro – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard
8 – Star Candy – Declan Carroll – Mark Casse
$500,000 PATTISON SUMMER (Grade 1) – Race 7
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Mysterious Night (IRE) – William Buick – Charles Appleby
2 – Ninetyfour Expos – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
3 – Appraise (IRE) – Manuel Franco – Chad Brown
4 – Chiseler – Patrick Husbands – Barbara Minshall
5 – Sammy Stone (S) – Declan Carroll – Catherine Day Phillips
6 – Philip My Dear – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard
7 – Stayhonor Goodside – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse
$150,000 SEAWAY STAKES (Grade 3) – Race 8
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Beyond Mybudget – Declan Carroll – Mark Casse
2 – Emmeline – Justin Stein – Mike Mattine
3 – Nazuna (IRE) (S) – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse
4 – Hai Bobbi (S) – Leo Salles – Abraham Katryan
5 – Souper Sensational – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
6 – The Grass Is Blue – Manuel Franco – Graham Motion
7 – Hazelbrook – Jason Hoyte – Lorne Richards
8 – Dreaming of Drew – Kazushi Kimura – Barbara Minshall
9 – Lady Speightspeare – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Roger Attfield
10 – Golden Vision – Rafael Hernandez – Tino Attard
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms