EARLY LOOK AT THE GRADE 1 RICOH WOODBINE MILE (12)
Arod (IRE) / Qatar Racing Limited / David Simcock
Conquest Panthera / Gary Barber / Mark Casse
Deauville (IRE) / Mrs. Fitri Hay, Mrs. John Magnier, Mr. Michael Tabor and Mr. Derrick Smith / Aidan O’Brien
Disco Partner / Mrs. Patricia A. Generazio / Christophe Clement
Dragon Bay / Brent McLellan, Russell McLellan and Stuart C. Simon / Stuart Simon
Dutch Connection (GB) / Godolphin / Charlie Hills
Glenville Gardens / Janice Attard / Sid Attard
Lancaster Bomber / Mr. Michael B. Tabor, Mr. Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier / Aidan O’Brien
Long on Value / Wachtel Stable, Kerr, George J. and Barber, Gary / William I. Mott
Mondialiste / Geoff and Sandra Turnbull / David O’Meara
Tower of Texas / Thomas F. Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth / Roger Attfield
World Approval / Live Oak Plantation / Mark Casse
STAKES CONTENDERS TAKE TO THE TURF FOR FINAL WORKS
Tower of Texas, prepping for his third consecutive appearance in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile, breezed five furlongs in :59.60 over the turf training track under regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva here Sunday.
“He worked fantastic,” said regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva. “I could not be more happy.”
Tower of Texas, who is trained by Roger Attfield, finished a close second behind the superstar Tepin in last year’s Woodbine Mile. The Ontario-bred 6-year-old gelding had finished seventh, beaten 5 ¼ lengths, in the 2015 running.
Northern Dancer candidates Camp Creek, Noble Thought and Seeking Albert all breezed on the turf training course Sunday morning.
The Grade 1 $300,000 Northern Dancer, a 1 ½ mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, is the major local prep for the Oct. 15 Canadian International over the same course and distance and is one of three stakes on the Woodbine Mile undercard.
Camp Creek went in 1:01.60 under Rafael Hernandez, who will be back in the irons after guiding the gelding to his upset score in last year’s Breeders’ Stakes and his sixth-place finish in the Northern Dancer. The Breeders’, the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, also is a 1 ½ mile turf race.
Seeking Albert, a close fourth in this year’s Breeders’, was clocked in 1:01.20.
Noble Thought, coming off a second-place finish here behind Can’thelpbelieving in the Grade 2 Sky Classic over 1 3/8 miles of turf, was timed in :48.80 for four furlongs.
Tower of Texas (blinkers) battling to the wire…(Burns)
CAN ATTARD PULL OFF SURPRISE ‘GARDEN PARTY’?
The Attard family is hoping the 21st running of the $800,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile culminates with a garden party on the Woodbine lawn next Saturday, Sept. 16.
Trainer Sid Attard and his wife Janice are pinning their hopes on Glenville Gardens for a turf winner’s circle celebration on Woodbine Mile day.
Glenville Gardens, who has gone from a $40,000 claimer to two-time Woodbine Mile starter, was claimed by Attard’s wife as a sophomore. Now five, the Street Cry-Navy Gardens gelding has won nine of his 19 career starts while earning $576,705 in purses, and is six-for-10 on Woodbine’s E.P. Taylor turf course.
The Attards took a chance on the well-bred three-year-old as he had won a stakes race at two and still fit the conditioned classes at the time.
“I like to take shots like that,” said the Canadian Hall of Fame trainer. “With classy horses, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. When they’ve got class and they’ve got a little breeding, sooner or later they’re going to show it.”
Those are words of wisdom Attard has taken to heart from one of his owners of 40 years, Bob Harvey. “He told me all the time, ‘when there’s breeding, sooner or later it’s going to show.’ And I believed him, it’s true.”
There’s no doubt Glenville Gardens has shown his class and exceeded the expectations the Attards had the day they made the claim. “When you claim a horse, you hope he’s going to make maybe $50,000, nothing like this. We got really lucky. But he always had the class, he’s always been a nice horse.”
At the start of the season, Glenville Garden reverted to some of his old stubborn antics he showed early in his career, refusing to train. He finished seventh in his season’s debut in June in the Connaught Cup (Gr. 2) so Attard gave him some time off at his farm to freshen up and he returned to winning form in a July 22 allowance race then finished a game third after being blocked at the top of the stretch in his attempt to repeat in the Play the King Stakes (Gr. 2) on August 19.
“He ran a really, really good race. He was kind of jammed behind horses, he had an excuse. I’m not saying he could have won it, but you never know. He came out of the race good and he’s been training well. As a matter of fact, we breezed him today [Saturday],” said Attard of a five-furlong work in 1:00.4 on the all-weather track at Woodbine. “Last time, he worked :59 and I told my exercise boy that works him all the time, ‘please don’t go so fast with him’ and he did his best to slow him down. He worked very, very well. We were so happy.”
Attard knows the Woodbine Mile is a competitive spot for Glenville Gardens, but is hoping for a better result than last year’s seventh-place finish in which he was sent postward at odds of 26-1 and led through the first three-quarters of the mile.
“Last time, he went to the lead and I was surprised,” said Attard, who won his first Woodbine Mile start in 2001 with Numerous Times. “But Luis Contreras is going to ride him and he knows him well. I’m pretty sure he’s not going to send him to the lead.”
Attard also trains Stronach Stables’ five-year-old mare Southern Gem, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01 on the all-weather track Saturday morning in preparation for the $250,000 Canadian Stakes (Gr. 2), which will be contested on the Woodbine Mile undercard.
RICOH WOODBINE MILE WEATHER FORECAST
According to Environment Canada, warm weather is on the way for Saturday’s 21st edition of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile with a high of 22 degrees Celsius and a mix of sun and cloud for the $800,000 Grade 1 event.