Friday, September 05, 2008
Kip Deville headlines Woodbine Mile
IEAH Stables and Partners' Kip Deville, the top-ranked turf miler in North America, is the 6-5 morning line favourite and will break from post four in a field of eight for Sunday's Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile.
The 12th edition of one of the premier grass races in North America will be televised live across Canada on The Score, in a special two-hour presentation from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm ET, with post time scheduled for 5:35 pm. The winner receives $600,000.
Post positions were drawn Thursday at Woodbine with guest drawmaster Ron Wilson, the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kip Deville (PP4, 6-5), trained by Richard Dutrow, Jr., is on a three-race win streak. After finishing second to favoured Shakespeare in last year's Woodbine Mile, he captured the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Monmouth Park in October.
After a lengthy rest, the grey five-year-old Oklahoma-bred son of Kipling returned to the racing wars this season with a victory in Keeneland's Maker's Mark Mile in April, then most recently won the Poker Handicap at Belmont Park on July 13, registering a career high 109 Beyer (Daily Racing Form speed rating) in the process.
"He's been doing great since (the Woodbine Mile) last year," said Dutrow. "He's just been in a zone of his own. He's incredible. He's doing unbelievable. I'm just really excited about being able to watch him run again. He certainly appears to be (a better horse than last year). He's just so much more confident in himself. He's matured into that type of a horse.
"The way he is now, we kind of just let him fall into the race the way he wants to because he knows what to do and when to do it. If he finds himself on the lead, that's fine with us."
A career earner of over $2.6 million, Kip Deville, who'll be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, comes from the same barn as high profile stablemates Big Brown, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell, and the recently-retired sprinter, Benny the Bull. Dutrow also saddled 2006 Woodbine Mile runner-up Rebel Rebel.
Juddmonte Farms' Kentucky-bred Ventura (PP8, 4-1) a four-year-old daughter of Chester House, is the 4-1 second choice in the morning line and will be trying to become the first filly to win the Woodbine Mile. Trained by Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel, Ventura comes into the Mile off a nose loss to Diamond Diva in the $750,000 CashCall Mile at Hollywood Park on July 5.
She's won three of five starts this year in the United States, including the Grade 1 Just A Game Stakes on June 7 at Belmont Park, after campaigning in England as a two and three-year-old.
A win would give Frankel his third Woodbine Mile victory, following Riviera in 2000 and Leroidesanimaux in 2005, tying him with fellow conditioner Neil Drysdale. North America's leading rider, Garrett Gomez, will be looking for his second straight Woodbine Mile win, after taking last year's edition with Shakespeare.
"I've had five Eclipse Award-winning fillies, but I'd rate her (Ventura) pretty good. We'll see how she does in this race (before planning her next start)," said Frankel. "But we're looking for a little pace in the race."
Tucci Stables' Just Rushing (PP3, 5-1), trained by Sid Attard, who won the 2001 Woodbine Mile with Numerous Times, is one of six locals hoping to derail the two favoured invaders. The seven-year-old gelded son of Wild Rush has only had three starts this year, but comes into the Mile off a career best performance in the Grade 2, seven furlong Play the King on August 23, when he decisioned fellow Mile rival Wollemi Pine by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:19.3, while recording a 101 Beyer.
To be ridden by Jim McAleney, Just Rushing has won 13 of 28 starts and over $770,000, proving to be one of the best claims in Ontario racing history after being haltered for $40,000 in November of 2005.
"It's a good draw...number three, close to the rail," said Attard. "It looks like he's the only speed, so we'll see."
Trainer Ian Black will saddle two Mile hopefuls in Wollemi Pine (PP5, 6-1) and Rahy's Attorney (PP2, 12-1). Wollemi Pine, co-owned by Kinghaven Farms, Harvey Clarke and Greg Thompson, has taken three of six starts this year and was most recently second to Just Rushing in the Play the King. Emma-Jayne Wilson rides the four-year-old gelded son of Aljabr.
"The (posts) are fine," said Black. "Rahy loves the inside. He likes to be in on the rail. With a field of eight, I don't think it's any bother. The two horses (Kip Deville and Ventura) are very tough. The rest of us are very competitive - with each other. I don't know if we'll be competitive with them."
Rahy's Attorney, to be ridden by Slade Callaghan, is a one-time winner in five outings this year, taking the Connaught Cup on May 25. The four-year-old Ontario-bred gelded son of Crown Attorney has been going long in his last three outings, and most recently finished fourth to Seaside Retreat in the mile and one-quarter Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine, August 4.
Owned by Ellie Boje Farm, Mitch Peters, Dean Read and Jim and Jean MacLellan, Rahy's Attorney, with career earnings approaching $500,000, is unbeaten, however, in three one-mile turf starts, including the Vice Regent and Bunty Lawless Stakes last year.
Trainer Mark Frostad will send out Sam-Son Farm's Mulmur (PP1, 10-1), a five-year-old gelded son of Smart Strike, who has taken four of 19 career outings, including the seven furlong Jockey Club Stakes on July 19, when generating a career best 100 Beyer. Frostad and Sam-Son won the 1999 Woodbine Mile with Quiet Resolve and the 2004 edition with Soaring Free, the eventual Horse of the Year in Canada that year. Eurico Rosa da Silva retains the mount.
Also in the field is Augustin Stable's homebred Ice Bear (PP6, 15-1), winner of the mile and one-eighth With Approval Stakes on August 10. The four-year-old gelded son of Maria's Mon also won last year's one mile, turf Charlie Barley Stakes. Trained by Hall of Famer Mac Benson, Ice Bear will be ridden by Chantal Sutherland.
Rounding out the Mile is Palladio (PP7, 20-1), a last minute entrant who will be ridden by Richard Dos Ramos for trainer Roger Attfield and owner Haras Santa Maria de Araras. The six-year-old Lycius horse, Canada's champion three-year-old in 2005, is a six-time winner.
The stakes record time for the Woodbine Mile is 1:32.72, set by Soaring Free in 2004. Quiet Resolve ($91.10 in 1999) is the longest-priced winner while Leroidesanimaux is not only the shortest-priced winner ($3.30), but also established the largest margin of victory, seven and three-quarter lengths, in 2005.
Only three favourites have won the Mile in its first 11 editions...Soaring Free in 2004, Leroidesanimaux in 2005 and Shakespeare in 2007. Although no Woodbine Mile winner has won the Breeders' Cup Mile, two horses who raced in the Woodbine Mile have won the Breeders' Cup Mile....Kip Deville (2007) and Silic (1999), who had finished fifth in the Woodbine Mile. Three other Woodbine Mile winners, Geri (1997), Touch of the Blues (2003) and Leroidesanimaux (2005), all went on to finish second in the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Two other turf stakes highlight an exceptional Woodbine Mile undercard...the Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer Stakes, presented by V-Tech, at one mile and one-half for three-year-olds and upward and the $300,000 Grade 2, Canadian Stakes, at one mile and one-eighth for fillies and mares.
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