Idaho, the 5-2 morning line favourite for Sunday’s Pattison Canadian International, checked into Woodbine Thursday evening along with stablemate Rain Goddess, who is here for the E.P. Taylor Stakes.
“We couldn’t be happier with Idaho,” said Kieran Murphy, a traveling head lad for trainer Aidan O’Brien. “He traveled great, did everything right.”
Murphy also was here last year with Idaho when the four-year-old colt finished fifth in the Canadian International, beaten 2 1/2 lengths as the 7-5 favourite.
“He’s stronger, and definitely more mentally mature,” said Murphy. “This morning when we took him out he was very happy, and relaxed.”
Idaho is making his second trip across the pond this year after finishing sixth as the favourite in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer, a 1 1/2 mile turf race at Saratoga on August 26. In his last start, the Irish-bred set much of the pace before faltering to finish eighth, beaten 7 1/4 lengths, in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Also accompanying the O’Brien trainees were riders Ben Dalton, for Idaho, and Darren O’Dwyer, for Rain Goddess.
Ryan Moore will ride both horses on Sunday. Moore is three-for-six in the Canadian International, including the 2013 renewal with Joshua Tree for O’Brien. He won the E.P. Taylor with Curvy in 2015.
Rain Goddess, the only three-year-old in the E.P. Taylor lineup, is a Group 3 winner whose record includes a second behind subsequent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Enable in the Group 1 Irish Oaks at The Curragh this summer.
“She’s doing well,” said Murphy. “Hopefully, she’ll give a good performance.”
Rain Goddess is the 9-2 third choice for the E.P. Taylor.
Thursday’s Canadian International arrivals, all vanning in from south of the border, also included defending champion Erupt; his stablemate, Messi; and the improving Postulation.
Erupt was trained last year by Francis-Henri Graffard but was left with Graham Motion, the North American trainer for the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Holdings Ltd., following his fifth-place finish in the Sword Dancer.
The Canadian International will be his first start for his new conditioner and Erupt is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.
“All seems to be good,” said assistant trainer Alice Clapham, who arrived mid-afternoon with Erupt, Messi, and the E.P. Taylor contender Quidura on the six-hour trip from the trainer’s Fair Hill base.
Exercise rider Mary Motion, a niece of Motion’s, also is here to aid in Erupt’s preparation.
All three horses galloped over the Tapeta surface on Friday morning.
Messi is here for the second time this season after finishing an unlucky third in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer over the course and distance on September 16.
Quidura also was here that day, winning the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on the turf. She is the 3-1 second choice on the E.P. Taylor’s morning line.
Postulation, trained by Eddie Graham, arrived at approximately 9:30 p.m. along with stable mascot Pepper, a miniature horse who is a regular traveling companion for the Graham runners.
“He shipped up really well,” said assistant trainer Brianne Slater.
Groom Michael Marten also accompanied Postulation, who is coming off a second-place finish behind fellow Canadian International contestant Oscar Nominated in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs.
Flamboyant checked in from California last Thursday and was reunited with his trainer, Paddy Gallagher, on Friday morning.
“He looked good on the track this morning,” said Gallagher, who watched Flamboyant gallop a mile and a half on the Tapeta. “He seems good, seems happy.”
Flamboyant, who is coming off a close third-place finish in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on the grass, is the 6-1 fourth choice on the Canadian International’s morning line.
Blond Me, who was among the four Europeans who arrived here very early Tuesday, had a busy morning on Friday as she jogged briefly on the Tapeta, warming up for a six-furlong turf gallop under traveling head lass Leanne Masterton, and then schooled in the paddock.
“She traveled very well,” said Masterton, of the turf exercise.
Blond Me, a five-year-old trained by Andrew Balding, has a pair of Group 2 stakes wins to her credit this season and finished second behind the then-streaking Winter in the Group 1 Nassau at Goodwood.
Her owner, Barbara Keller, has been on hand here the past couple of mornings. Her previous E.P Taylor starter, Odeliz, finished second in the 2014 running of the E.P. Taylor for trainer Karl Burke.
The other earlier European arrivals—Chemical Charge, Nezwaah, and Cotai Glory—also were out and about on Friday morning.
Chemical Charge and Nezwaah both galloped on the main track while Cotai Glory put in a six-furlong gallop on the turf course for the second straight morning.
Friday’s exercise was the second for Chemical Charge after he walked the first two mornings here.
Chemical Charge, conditioned by Ralph Beckett, will be seeking his third straight win but first success above the Group 3 level in the Canadian International and is the 5-1 third choice on the morning line.
Nezwaah, who defeated Rain Goddess to become a Group 1 winner in the Pretty Polly, is the 5-2 favourite for the E.P. Taylor.
Cotai Glory, Group 1 placed and two-time Group 3 winner, is the 2-1 morning line favourite for the Grade 2 Nearctic, a six-furlong turf race for three-year-olds and upward which also is part of Sunday’s smashing undercard.
WOODBINE OFFERS INTERNATIONAL FLAVOUR
Woodbine will feature special food and beverage offerings this weekend at the Toronto racetrack with signature dishes from France, Ireland, Germany, Britain, Canada and the United States available throughout the second floor concessions. In addition, Colio Tasting will be available in Favourites Dining Room & Corby’s and Labatt Tasting in Champions Bar & Patio.
Latin musician Michel DeQuevedo and Irish singer/songwriter Micheal Darcy will provide live entertainment throughout the afternoon on the second floor in the grandstand.
GUARANTEED POOLS ON SUNDAY’S WAGERING MENU
Sunday’s Pattison Canadian International card will feature guaranteed Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools on its wagering menu. The Late Pick 4 pool is guaranteed at $250,000 and the Early Pick 4 at $150,000 while the Late Pick 5 pool is guaranteed at $100,000 and the Early Pick 5 at $50,000. There will be 20-cent bet minimums on all Triactor, Superfecta, Pick 3 and Pick 4 pools.
HANDICAPPING SOCIAL AND SEMINAR SET FOR SATURDAY
Join Woodbine’s handicapping host Jeff Bratt for a very special Pattison Canadian International edition of Facebook Live from the Euro barn on Saturday morning (October 14). Fans can submit questions to @WoodbineBratt and follow along beginning at 9 a.m. as Bratt is joined by Michael Adolphson (@AdolphsonRacing) and Bailey Gallison (@starting_gate) to preview the Canadian International.
After catching up with Bratt and company, horseplayers can join Daily Racing Form Handicapper and Reporter Ron Gierkink and DRF Woodbine Correspondent Alex Campbell for a Pattison International Preview Handicapping Seminar on Saturday. The seminar will be held at the east end of the second floor and will begin at 11 a.m.
PATTISON CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL AVAILABLE LIVE ON TSN AND DIRECTV
The 80th edition of the Pattison Canadian International will be broadcast live in Canada on TSN5 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET with hosts Brian Williams and Jim Bannon being joined by Laura Diakun and Jason Portuondo.
In addition, U.S.-based racing fans can watch the broadcast in 4K on DirecTV channel 106.
The broadcast will include a feature honouring the late Penny Chenery and highlighting why she decided to bring the great Secretariat to Woodbine in 1973 for his final race.
FIELD FOR THE PATTISON CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL (10)
Post – Horse – Trainer – Jockey – Morning Line Odds
1. Oscar Nominated – Michael Maker – Julien Leparoux – 8-1
2. Flamboyant – Patrick Gallagher – Joel Rosario – 6-1
3. Enterprising – Michael Maker – Rafael Hernandez – 20-1
4. Idaho – Aidan O’Brien – Ryan Moore – 5-2
5. Johnny Bear – Ashlee Brnjas – Luis Contreras – 12-1
6. Postulation – Edward Graham – Jorge A. Vargas Jr. – 12-1
7. Bullards Alley – Tim Glyshaw – Eurico Rosa da Silva – 20-1
8. Messi – H. Graham Motion – Jose Ortiz – 8-1
9. Erupt – H. Graham Motion – Junior Alvarado – 7-2
10. Chemical Charge – Ralph Beckett – Oisin Murphy – 5-1