Woodbine Hosting Trio Of Breeders' Cup Challenge Races On Saturday's Turf Champions Day - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Woodbine Hosting Trio Of Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races On Saturday’s Turf Champions Day

A runner getting bathed ahead of Woodbine’s Turf Champions Day races

Automatic Breeders' Cup berths are on the line as compelling editions of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile, bet365 Summer Stakes, and Johnnie Walker Natalma Stakes headline Saturday's Turf Champions Day card of racing at Woodbine in Toronto, Ontario.

The 27th running of the Mile, worth $1 million and contested over the world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course, has attracted an accomplished field of six hopefuls. The Mile and the Natalma will be showcased on a live broadcast airing on TSN from 5-6 p.m. ET.

All three races are Grade 1.

Under the terms of the Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” Challenge Series, the Woodbine Mile winner will be entitled to a fees-paid berth for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile, to be run on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita. The winner of the $500,000 Johnnie Walker Natalma Stakes, for 2-year-old fillies, will be entitled to a fees-paid berth for the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 3, while the winner of the $500,000 bet365 Summer Stakes, for 2-year-olds, receives the same opportunity for the $2 million Juvenile Turf, also on Nov. 3.

Once again, the Mile, Natalma and Summer will showcase an exceptional group of turf talents, local and international standouts, as well as high-profile owners, breeders, trainers, and jockeys.

Godolphin's Irish homebred Master of The Seas will be making his first appearance in North America after prosperous performances in both England and the United Arab Emirates.

The 5-year-old son of Dubawi (IRE)-Firth of Lorne (IRE), who sports a record of 6-2-2 from 13 starts, is a five-time group winner along with a second and third at the G1 level.

“He has natural pace and travels well,” said Appleby. “The E.P. Taylor is a nice conventional track which suits him. It is a fair track with a nice straight that gives you a chance.”

Master of The Seas arrives at the Mile off a score in the one-mile Group 2 Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes on July 15. ​ ​

Appleby selected that race as the bay's most impressive outing to date.

“Winning the Summer Mile Stakes at Ascot in his last start where he won by four lengths [is his best performance],” he noted.

Godolphin and Appleby will be looking to duplicate their 2021 Woodbine success when they hit the Pattison Canadian International (Walton Street), bet365 Summer (Albahr) and Johnnie Walker Natalma (Wild Beauty) trifecta.

Last year, Godolphin and Appleby sent out five-time Group 1 winner, recently retired Modern Games, to Woodbine Mile glory, which was followed by a victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1). Mysterious Night added to the day's success with a win in the bet365 Summer.

“Both Master of The Seas (IRE) and Modern Games are strong travellers and milers with a will to win,” said Appleby.

William Buick, who won last year's race with the aforementioned Modern Games (IRE), will make the trip to ride on Saturday.

Dual hall of fame conditioner Mark Casse, who won consecutive editions of the Mile, in 2016 with Tepin and one year later with World Approval, has three chances to add a third victory.

Ice Chocolat, a 5-year-old Brazilian-bred son of Goldikovic-Amor Chocolat, brings a record of 5-5-2 from 18 starts into his latest engagement.

Owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Peter Deutsch, the multiple graded stakes-placed dark bay took the Group 3 Grande Prêmio Federação Internacional de Autoridades Hípicas at Brazil's Hipódromo da Gávea on Nov. 7, 2021, in his final start of the campaign.

The gelding, bred by Haras Niju, made his North American debut with a fifth-place effort in his first start of 2022 and then contested his next seven starts at Woodbine.

He arrives at the Mile off a third-place effort in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) which saw Ice Chocolat carried six- to seven-wide and then steadied before regrouping to close stoutly, missing the top spot by 1 ¼ lengths.

“One horse that has really come around is Ice Chocolat,” praised Casse. “His last couple of races have been really good. We've figured out that his best distance is a mile and he's training really well. In fact, (assistant trainer) David Adams has had him forever at Woodbine. Then, he went to Saratoga and then sent him back to Woodbine. David said, 'Boy, this horse has really gotten good.' He thinks he's changed.”

Joel Rosario will be aboard on Saturday.

Ultra-consistent Lucky Score, a 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky-Miss Matzo, is 6-3-4 from 17 starts and has finished in the top three over his past seven starts.

Owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Pantofel Stable, the bay gelding earned his second graded stakes victory after taking the six-furlong Highlander (G2) on July 1 at Woodbine. One year earlier, in September, he won the Vigil (G3).

Bred in Ontario by James Everatt, Janeane Everatt (who passed away in July) and Arika Everatt-Meeuse, Lucky Score has raced exclusively at Woodbine.

After a 10th in his debut on Sept. 19, 2020, he broke his maiden next time out, and made it two straight scores in his 3-year-old debut on Aug. 20, 2021.

“Lucky Score, what can I say?” offered Casse. “He shows up every time and gives it his best. He's been a little unlucky, wide, in the last couple starts. If he could get the perfect storm, it wouldn't shock me to see him pull off an upset.”

Sahin Civaci, who has partnered Lucky Score in all his starts this year, once again gets the call.

Casse's third Mile hopeful comes in the form of My Sea Cottage.

Bred by Mubarak Al Naemi, and owned by Gary Barber, the 5-year-old son of Shalaa-Shim Sham has compiled a record of 3-1-6 from 16 starts.

The bay gelding is no stranger to Woodbine, having contested three races here, including the 2021 Toronto Cup Stakes (fifth).

His most recent outing was a fourth to Casa Creed in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1).

“We're bringing him in from New York,” said Casse. “I thought he ran very well in the Fourstardave. I don't know how much speed is going to be in the Mile, but he's fast and he'll be up on the lead.”

My Sea Cottage debuted with a sixth-place result at Belmont on July 3, 2020, in what was his only start of the year. He broke his maiden in his fourth start, a 2 ¼-length triumph over one mile on the Gulfstream turf on March 28, 2021.

Dylan Davis will ride.

A five-time winner, along with a second and two thirds, from 17 starts, Shirl's Speight rhymed off three straight trips to the winner's circle from Jan. 15 to April 15 last year, capped off by a nose triumph in the Makers Mark Mile (G1).

Under the tutelage of dual Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, the 6-year-old son of Speightstown-Perfect Shirl won his debut, a seven-furlong race over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, on July 4, 2020, by eight lengths.

Bred and owned by Charles Fipke, the bay, who was fourth in this May's Dubai Turf (G1)  at Meydan, finished fourth in last year's Mile and second, at 55-1, to Modern Games in the 2022 Breeders' Cup Mile (G1).

John Velazquez, who has a record five Woodbine Mile victories, including back-to-back (2012-13) triumphs with Wise Dan, will be in the irons.

Owned by Bruno Schickedanz and trained by Norm McKnight, War Bomber (IRE), a 5-year-old son of War Front-Sun Shower (IRE), heads into his second Mile (he was ninth last year) off a stellar winning performance in the King Edward Stakes (G2T) on Aug. 19 at Woodbine.

The gelding, claimed by Schickedanz for $25,000 in August 2021, brings a mark of 7-2-2 from 19 starts into Saturday's race. Last August, War Bomber sprung an 18-1 upset in the Seagram Cup (G3), run at 1 1/16 miles on the Woodbine Tapeta.

“He's versatile,” said Schickedanz, Canada's champion owner of 2022, after the King Edward. “To me, I don't know where he's better. He's good on both surfaces.”

Rico Walcott, aboard for the past two outings, gets the call on the Coolmore-bred bay.

$1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Grade 1) – Race 9

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – Master of The Seas (IRE) – William Buick – Charlie Appleby

2 – War Bomber (IRE) – Rico Walcott – Norm McKnight

3 – Shirl's Speight – John Velazquez – Roger Attfield

4 – Ice Chocolat (BRZ) – Joel Rosario – Mark Casse

5 – My Sea Cottage (IRE) (S) – Dylan Davis – Mark Casse

6 – Lucky Score – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

$500,000 Johnnie Walker Natalma (Grade 1) – Race 8

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – Dazzling Star (GB) – William Buick – Charlie Appleby

2 – Bolt Enoree – Patrick Husbands – Kevin Attard

3 – Dancing Duchess – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Mark Casse

4 – Brocknardini – Declan Carroll – George Weaver

5 – Ms. Tart – Antonio Gallardo – Todd Beattie

6 – Airosa – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard

7 – Simply in Front – Jose Campos – Patrick Dixon

8 – Ready to Jam – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

9 – Go With Gusto – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Mark Casse

10 – She's Fire – Addiel Ayala – Kevin Rice

11 – She Feels Pretty – John Velazquez – Cherie DeVaux

12 – Ozara (IRE) – Dylan Davis – Christophe Clement

13 – Dea Matrona (FR) – Joel Rosario – Chad Brown

14 – Golden Canary – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

15 – Rhapsody – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard ​

$500,000 bet365 Summer (Grade 1) – Race 6

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – Souper Attentive – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse

2 – Carson's Run – Dylan Davis – Christophe Clement

3 – My Boy Prince – Joel Rosario – Mark Casse

4 – Tunechi – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Barbara Minshall

5 – Go With Gusto – Joel Rosario – Mark Casse

6 – Bolt Enoree – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard

7 – Airosa – John Velazquez – Kevin Attard

8 – Western Whirl – Rico Walcott – Stuart Simon

9 – Bucyk – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard

10 – Golden Canary – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

11 – King of the Track – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse

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