FIELD FOR THE GRADE 1 RICOH WOODBINE MILE (12)
POST / HORSE / JOCKEY / TRAINER
1 / World Approval / Mark Casse / John Velazquez
2 / Tower of Texas /Roger Attfield / Eurico Rosa da Silva
3 / Long On Value / Bill Mott / Joel Rosario
4 / Best Bard / Norm McKnight / Rafael Hernandez
5 / Dragon Bay / Stuart Simon / Gary Boulanger
6 / Deauville / Aidan O’Brien / Jamie Spencer
7 / Conquest Panthera / Mark Casse / Patrick Husbands
8 / Mondialiste / David O’Meara / Jose Ortiz
9 / Arod / David Simcock / Harry Bentley
10 / Lancaster Bomber / Aidan O’Brien / Wayne Lordan
11 / Dutch Connection / Charlie Hills / Mickael Barzalona
12 / Glenville Gardens / Sid Attard / Luis Contreras
DEAUVILLE AND LANCASTER BOMBER IN GOOD ORDER AHEAD OF MILE
Deauville and Lancaster Bomber, both trained by Aidan O’Brien, enjoyed an easy canter over the Woodbine Tapeta ahead of their start in Saturday’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile, a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ event boasting an $800,000 purse.
"They went very good. Really, they’re just stretching their legs. They’ve done all their work before they came here," said assistant T.J. Comerford. "This was their third day out on the track and they’re looking good."
Comerford is pleased with the local facilities with both horses making their first start in Canada.
"We’re very well looked after here. Everything is top class and it’s a great place to come racing," said Comerford.
Deauville, the 5-2 morning line favourite for the Mile, will be cutting back to a one-turn mile following his recent third in the 10-furlong Grade 1 Arlington Million.
"He’s run in the Arlington Million the past two years and finished third both times. He just seems to run out of gas coming up to the winning post and gets nabbed. He looks like he has it put to bed and just gets caught," said Comerford.
Comerford believes a mile may suit Deauville, particularly based on his effort in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, which was won by Ribchester who has since come back to win the Group 1 Prix du Moulin, at Chantilly.
"At Royal Ascot this year, he went in the Queen Anne over a straight mile and finished third there and I thought it was a great race. We thought the mile might be asking a lot of him but it doesn’t seem to bother him," said Comerford.
Lancaster Bomber, at 9-2, may be a higher price on the morning line, but the sophomore comes in with serious credentials as a multiple Group 1 placed son of War Front.
"Lancaster Bomber has taken it all very well. He comes off the track there and doesn’t even sweat. He’s very laid back and nothing phases him," said Comerford.
The talented bay, who finished a closing second last year in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, will carry just 112 pounds under rider Wayne Lordan.
"I think he’s at an advantage here because he’s getting a weight allowance and he’s in great order. We’re very happy with him," said Comerford. "He’ll take to the hard ground and he’s been to a Breeders’ Cup and finished second. He’s done it all before, so it’s not as big an ask for a three-year-old to take on older horses when he has the experience he has."
TOWER OF TEXAS IN SEARCH OF A LITTLE RACING LUCK
It if wasn’t for bad luck, Tower of Texas wouldn’t have no luck at all.
While that ungrammatical chestnut may not apply uniformly to Tower of Texas, as the bay gelding has managed to arrive on time in two of his 11 outings since consistently devoting his energies to turf racing, he also has finished close without grabbing the brass ring on numerous other occasions.
Those tribulations may have tested the mettle of lesser men than trainer Roger Attfield and owners Thomas Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth, particularly when it comes to a race like last year’s Woodbine Mile.
Tower of Texas almost pulled off an upset of the mighty Tepin, but as on many other occasions, he lacked a clear run and ended just a half-length short as the runner-up.
Pace makes the race, it has been said, and trips for a come-from-behinder like Tower of Texas are directly related to what transpires on the front end.
And on that count, Attfield is not seeing what he had hoped for.
“I’m afraid I say I don’t see a lot of speed in the race, which is upsetting for me,” said the trainer.
“Otherwise, he’s in fine fettle as far as the Mile is concerned. It is what it is.”
EXTENSIVE WAGERING MENU ON TAP FOR RICOH WOODBINE MILE CARD
An array of exciting wagers is on offer for horseplayers on Saturday’s 13-race Ricoh Woodbine Mile card, which kicks off at 1 p.m.
Offerings include a $100,000 guaranteed Early Pick 4 (Race 4-7), a $300,000 Late Pick-4 (Race 9-12); as well as a guaranteed $50,000 Early Pick 5 (Race 2-6) and a $200,000 Late Pick-5 (Race 8-12); in addition to the first ever joint NYRA/Woodbine Pick-5.
Capping off a sensational wagering menu is a mandatory payout on the Jackpot Hi-5, which boasts a carryover of $1,425,365.45.