AN EARLY LOOK AT THE PROBABLE FIELD FOR THE $1 MILLION RICOH WOODBINE MILE (11)
Horse – Trainer – Owner – Jockey
Admiralty Pier – Barbara J. Minshall – Hoolie Racing Stable LLC and Bruce Lunsford – Patrick Husbands
American Guru – Michael J. Doyle – Stronach Stables – Rafael Hernandez
Awesometank (GB) – William J. Haggas – Lee Yuk Lun – TBA
El Tormenta – Gail Cox – Sam-Son Farm – Eurico Rosa Da Silva
Emmaus (IRE) – Conor Murphy – M and J Thoroughbreds LLC and Riverside Bloodstock LLC – Jamie Spencer
Got Stormy – Mark E. Casse – Gary Barber and Southern Equine Stable LLC – Tyler Gaffalione
Lucullan – Kiaran P. McLaughlin – Godolphin LLC – Luis Saez
Mr Havercamp – Catherine Day Phillips – Sean & Dorothy Fitzhenry – Junior Alvarado
Raging Bull (FR) – Chad C. Brown – Peter M. Brant – Joel Rosario
Silent Poet – Nicholas Gonzalez – Stronach Stables – Gary Boulanger
Synchrony – Michael Stidham – Pin Oak Stable – Flavien Prat
NO ‘PIER’ PRESSURE: ADMIRALTY PIER SEEKS RICOH WOODBINE MILE UPSET
TORONTO, September 6, 2019 – Admiralty Pier, a four-year-old son of English Channel-Full Steam Ahead, goes after his second career stakes win and first graded stakes crown in next Saturday’s Grade 1 $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile.
Owned by Hoolie Racing Stable LLC and Bruce Lunsford, the Kentucky-bred has one win from four tries in 2019, the victory coming on January 18 at Tampa Bay Downs in a 1 1/16-mile turf race.
Sporting a career record of 3-1-2 in 13 starts, Admiralty Pier, trained by champion conditioner Barbara Minshall, heads into the Mile off a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes on August 24 at Woodbine.
“He’s been a good horse from the get-go,” started Minshall, who was named Canada’s top trainer in 1996. “Unfortunately, he’s had a few breaks in the program, mainly, he’s had some muscle injuries that have recurred. He’s a nice horse, and he’s training really, really well.”
Admiralty Pier launched his career on a winning note, taking a six-and-a-half furlong grass event at Woodbine on August 6, 2017. The chestnut, after getting away sixth, held a head advantage at the quarter-mile mark, eventually going on to a 4 ¾-length win at odds of 11-1.
He finished his two-year-old campaign with two wins (the other coming in the Display Stakes), one second, a third, and a fourth.
The following season, Admiralty Pier’s best finish in four starts was a third, that coming in the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland in April.
Now, he’ll take on some top-notch talent over the world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
“It looks like it’s going to be a tough race, but it’s on home ground, so we’re going to take a shot,” said Minshall.
One thing Minshall does anticipate is Admiralty Pier showing up with his best effort on September 14.
“He’s an honest horse. We got sidetracked after the Tampa Bay race (a fifth-place performance in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes, on February 9). He ran a really good race in Tampa, just beaten a length. We ended up not being able to find a race for him, so we ended up sprinting him a little bit, just to get him back running. But he’s not really a sprinter. The Play the King, going as quickly as it did, I thought he gave it a good shot, but he’s not a sprinter of that type. He’s got a couple of races under him, and he’s come out of them really well.”
Multiple Sovereign Award-winning rider Patrick Husbands will be in the irons for the Mile. The Bajan native, who has 3,330 career wins, took the 2001 edition of the Mile with Numerous Times.
SYNCHRONY SETS OUT FOR GRADE 1 GLORY IN RICOH WOODBINE MILE
TORONTO, September 6, 2019 – Synchrony was flawless in his first appearance at Woodbine, overcoming a less than ideal trip to get up for a one-length score in the Grade 2 King Edward on June 29, Queen’s Plate Day.
“We were experimenting with the one-turn mile, because he hadn’t done that,” said Michael Stidham, who trains the son of Tapit out of Brownie Points for Pin Oak Stable. “We feel like maybe the mile might be his very best distance.”
Next Saturday, Synchrony will be looking to remain perfect over the local course and distance as he seeks his first Grade 1 victory in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile.
“The Grade 1 is huge,” said Stidham, noting that the homebred’s stud potential would increase for owners Pin Oak Stable, who also are in the stallion business.
Synchrony had started six times when he debuted for Stidham at the Fair Grounds in February of 2017 and was unplaced in his first start for his new connections. But the now-six-year-old was tried on turf for the first time in his next outing, was an impressive allowance winner, and a new career was born.
“He’d been going through some issues which he had as a three-year-old,” said Stidham. “He had some bone-bruising. We had to kind of take our time to get him through that. The owners were very patient and gave me all the time I needed to get him healthy. We tried the grass with him and found that was definitely going to be his preferred surface. He’s gone on to do some good things, and we hope he’s got some more left in him.”
Synchrony has been a gem of consistency, being astutely managed while scoring in four Grade 3 stakes and a pair of Grade 2s including the King Edward.
Unfortunately, the cards have not fallen Synchrony’s way in his three previous Grade 1 tries, as each came “off” courses which are not his strength. And while the elements obviously are not in Stidham’s control, he has done everything else to forecast a tip-top performance in his biggest test to date.
“The one thing that we’ve learned about him is that he’s always run very well off a freshening,” said the trainer. “That was kind of the idea of not trying to run him in between the King Edward and the Woodbine Mile. We thought that just training him up to it, having a fresh horse, would hopefully give us our best chance to come up with his best effort.