Multiple graded stakes winners World Approval, Mondialiste and Deauville headline a list of 26 horses nominated to the Grade 1 $800,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, to be held Saturday, September 16, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.
The prestigious Ricoh Woodbine Mile, which offers Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In status, has drawn nominations from across North America and Europe.
Woodbine’s leading trainer Mark Casse has two horses nominated for the one-turn mile over the world-famous E.P. Taylor Turf Course including multiple Grade 1 winner World Approval and the improving Grade 2 winner Conquest Panthera.
World Approval, a Live Oak Plantation homebred, has won three of four starts this campaign including a victory on ‘good’ turf in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico. Last time out, World Approval surged to victory in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga on August 12 over a yielding turf.
“We were a little concerned because of the rain, but we looked at his race at Pimlico and the turf was softer that day and we figured it was okay,” said Casse. “His brother, Za Approval, didn’t like soft turf at all, but it may have helped World Approval the other day at Saratoga.”
By Northern Afleet, World Approval is out of the exceptional dam Win Approval, who has produced such multiple graded stakes winners Revved Up, Miesque’s Approval and Za Approval.
The well-related World Approval has proven his talents at a variety of distances including a victory in the 1 3/8-mile Grade 1 United Nations last season at Monmouth Park. However, Casse believes the five-year-old gelding may have found his true calling going a mile on the turf.
“He does seem to like a mile. He’s the fourth grade 1 winner out of the mare and they just get better with age,” said Casse. “Mrs. Weber (owner of Live Oak Plantation) is a big believer in giving her horses time, and every time we’ve given him a little rest he’s come back bigger and stronger. Right now, he thinks he can beat anybody.”
Mondialiste, trained by David O’Meara for owners Geoff and Sandra Turnbull, is expected to return to Canada for the first time since taking the 2015 edition of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile. The now seven-year-old son of Galileo captured the 2016 running of the Grade 1 Arlington Million and was narrowly defeated earlier this season in the Group 2 York Stakes.
Deauville, a millionaire son of Galileo trained by Aidan O’Brien, is a four-time winner. He made his presence known in North America with a thrilling neck score in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby in 2016. The consistent four-year-old captured the Group 3 Huxley Stakes at Chester in May and most recently was a strong third, defeated less than a length, in the Grade 1 Arlington Million won by Beach Patrol.
Lightning Spear, a multiple Group 2 winner for trainer David Simcock and owner Qatar Racing Limited, is in excellent form after defending his title in the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood on August 26. The six-year-old Pivotal chestnut is multiple Group 1 placed including a strong third in the Sussex at Goodwood on August 2.
Leading the charge for the home team are Canadian-breds Heart to Heart and Tower of Texas.
Heart to Heart, bred in Ontario by Red Hawk Ranch, is a winner of 12 of 29 starts for trainer Brian Lynch and owner Terry Hamilton. The six-year-old English Channel bay with the distinctive heart-shaped blaze is multiple Grade 1 placed including a neck defeat to American Patriot in the Makers 46 Mile on April 14 at Keeneland.
Tower of Texas, bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms Inc. and Rod Ferguson, is a five-time winner for owners Thomas Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth. Trained by Roger Attfield, the popular Street Sense bay captured the Grade 2 Connaught Cup by a nose earlier in the meet and was a 1/2-length away from upsetting Tepin in the 2016 edition of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile.
A full list of nominated horses is available below.
The lucrative Saturday, September 16 card also features the Grade 1 $300,000 Northern Dancer Stakes, the Grade 2 $300,000 Canadian Stakes and the Grade 3 $125,000 Bold Venture Stakes.
In addition, the Sunday, September 17 card at Woodbine includes two Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In races for two-year-olds highlighted by the $250,000 Grade 1 Natalma Stakes for fillies and the $200,000 Grade 2 Summer Stakes, both to be contested at one mile on the grass.
Last year, the ‘Queen of the Turf’ Tepin captured the Ricoh Woodbine Mile en route to Eclipse Award honours as Champion Grass Mare. The 2017 edition of the Mile will be televised live on TSN2.
Twenty-eight two-year-old fillies have been nominated to the Natalma Stakes (Gr. 1) and an additional 45 juveniles have been nominated to the Summer Stakes (Gr. 2).
For a full listing of nominees for the September 16/17 Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ weekend, complete with past performances, click into Woodbine’s Thoroughbred resources page.
NOMINEES FOR THE GRADE 1 $800,000 RICOH WOODBINE MILE
HORSE / OWNER / TRAINER
Arod – Qatar Racing Limited – David Simcock Ballagh Rocks – Donegal Racing – William I. Mott Best Bard – Bruno Schickedanz – Norman McKnight Breaking Lucky – Gunpowder Farms LLC, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, R. A. Hill Stable and E. Young – Reade Baker Conquest Panthera – Gary Barber – Mark E. Casse Deauville – Mrs. Fitri Hay, Mrs. John Magnier, Mr. Michael Tabor and Mr. Derrick Smith – Aidan P. O’Brien Delta Prince – Stronach Stables – James A. Jerkens Disco Partner – Patricia A. Generazio – Christophe Clement Donworth – Reddam Racing LLC – Doug F. O’Neill Dragon Bay – Brent & Russell McLellan and Stuart C. Simon – Stuart C. Simon Dutch Connection – Godolphin – Charles Hill Fanciful Angel – Touch Gold Racing – Chad C. Brown Glenville Gardens – Janice Attard – Sid C. Attard Heart to Heart – Terry Hamilton – Brian A. Lynch Ikerrin Road – Alpine Stable Ltd. – Vito Armata Jallota – Mrs. Fitri Hay – Charles Hills Lancaster Bomber – Mr. Michael B. Tabor, Mr. Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier – Aidan P. O’Brien Lightning Spear – Qatar Racing Limited – David Simcock Long On Value – Wachtel Stable, Kerr, George J. and Barber, Gary – William I. Mott Miss Temple City – The Club Racing LLC, Needle In A Haystack, LLC and Sagamore Farm – H. Graham Motion Mondialiste – Geoff and Sandra Turnbull – David O’Meara Ring Weekend – St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds – H. Graham Motion Sassy Little Lila – Sheep Pond Partners and Ryan, Michael J. – Brad H. Cox Tower of Texas – Thomas F. Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth – Roger L. Attfield Unbridled Juan – Stronach Stables – Josie Carroll World Approval – Live Oak Plantation – Mark E. Casse