TORONTO, September 16 – Live Oak Plantation’s World Approval, trained by Mark Casse, captured the 21st edition of the $800,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile in front-running fashion to give jockey John Velazquez a fifth win in the prestigious Grade 1 event.
MARK CASSE, TRAINER OF WORLD APPROVAL
Q. How does it feel to win for a second year in row?
"It’s always sweet to win big races, but it means more at Woodbine."
Q. Why weren’t you here this year?
"We had horses running all over the place and Mrs. Weber said she was going so I said, ‘Well, can you handle it?’ and she said she could. I was at command central in Keeneland buying horses and we had them running everywhere so it was last minute and I just decided not to come. She said she was going. We’re trying to buy the next Woodbine Mile winner."
Q. Are you confident about going to the Breeders’ Cup?
"I don’t know what you mean by confident. As long as he’s healthy, we are going to the Breeders’ Cup. Am I confident we can win? I don’t think I would change places with anybody. I think he’s good right now. I thought his race was impressive. It’s not exactly the way he wants to run. I’ve said all along, I think he wants a target, but there wasn’t a whole lot of speed and Johnny realized that and rode him accordingly."
Q. Any concerns someone was going to push him?
"A little bit. I just wasn’t sure how he would quicken with not having the target. That’s one of the things that seems to work for him when he has a target, he quickens a little better. I was a little concerned with that, but he’s a great horse, he a professional, ridden by a great rider."
Q. Did you learn anything about him from today?
"I don’t think so, I think he can do anything. We found the mile is what he wants. We’re excited to be going to the Breeder’s Cup. I’m excited. Mrs. Weber’s been a big part of my life for a long, long, long time. We both grew up in Ocala. She’s been there and Live Oak has been part of Ocala for 50 years so this was special. It was nice for her to be there. She had never been there for a win before so that was nice."
JOHN VELAZQUEZ, JOCKEY OF WORLD APPROVAL
Q. What point did you realize you got this?
"He was going so well the whole way around, I was just hoping when he switched down the lane, and I asked him, that he would respond. That’s exactly what he did. As soon as he switched, I let him know, he took off. He was ready."
Q. Did things unfold the way you expected?
"I wasn’t sure who the speed horse was going to be and I see he’s always been pretty close to the pace, not on the lead, but pretty close. He broke well today, no one seemed to want the lead, I just kind of left him there and he held on very well."
Q. Have you found yourself another Wise Dan?
"I hope so! He’s a very, very nice horse, I’ll tell you that. Maybe they found the distance he wants to do. Maybe I’ll put it that way."
Q. How was your trip?
"The more I read the form, the more I looked at the horses, no one seemed to want to be on the lead. He broke really well so I kind of let him do it for the first sixteenth of the mile to see what everybody else was doing. So I kind of held the whole group all the way into the middle of the track to see if anybody wanted to take the lead and no one went. When I got to the turn, I dropped in. I kind of sat against him and he was really well, he settled really nice. About the five-sixteenth pole, put the head in front of other horse and felt the other horses coming. At the quarter pole, I asked him to run and he responded right away and he got away from the horses pretty easily."
Q. Any instructions from Mark Casse?
“No, no instructions. The owner was here, all she said was just go and win, that’s it. (laughs). That was easy instructions.”
Q. How do you like his at a mile?
"I’ve never ridden him before, obviously, but I think he loved the mile the way he ran today. I think this is probably what he wants to do. The way he ran today, he was very impressive.”
Q. How do you feel about that fifth win?
"That’s awesome, right? I guess this race loves me."
"I won it twice with Wise Dan and once with Leroidesanimaux and the other one was in 2000 with Riviera."
WAYNE LORDAN, JOCKEY OF RUNNER-UP LANCASTER BOMBER
Q. How was your trip?
“I thought the race was run really steady for my horse. He quickened well and got to the line well. He ran a good race. He finished out good.”
“Maybe a stronger pace might have helped, but he ran a good solid race.”
JOEL ROSARIO, JOCKEY OF THIRD-PLACE LONG ON VALUE
Q. How was your trip?
“I just didn’t have any luck to get out. In the end, I never got through and had to point towards the outside and he lost a little momentum. He ran a very impressive race.”