Woodbine Mile: Ivar Should Display 'Powerful Late Run,' Casse Entrants Reliant On Pace Scenario - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Woodbine Mile: Ivar Should Display ‘Powerful Late Run,’ Casse Entrants Reliant On Pace Scenario

Ivar wins the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in 2020,

Paulo Lobo would be understandably ecstatic if his talented turfer Ivar (BRZ) puts his best foot forward in Saturday's Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile.

Ivar, the resilient 6-year-old son of Agnes Gold (JPN)-May Be Now, has endured his share of hard luck over a career that has yielded an impressive 6-0-2 mark from 12 lifetime starts.

His trainer is hopeful the dark bay, a two-time Breeders' Cup Mile participant, can experience some good fortune when he goes postward in the $1 million Woodbine Mile.

“He is a very good horse, and he shows that every time,” said Lobo. “He's had a few little things happen along the way, but he always comes back and runs a strong race.”

Ivar (BRZ) is owned by Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I. A two-time Group 1 winner in Argentina, where he began his career, he won the 2020 Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland before finishing fourth next time out in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Keeneland.

He arrives at the Woodbine Mile in winning form. On July 9, the graded stakes winner took the $100,000 Jonathan Schuster Memorial Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis, posting a one-length score in the 1 1/16-mile trek.

The road to the starting gate wasn't an easy one.

Scratched from the Maker's Mark Mile in April after Lobo felt Ivar (BRZ) wasn't quite ready, then again from the May 7 Turf Classic at Churchill due to a minor foot ailment, the horse was making his first start since a third in the Breeders' Cup Mile last November.

A win in the Schuster was anything but guaranteed.

Taking on a talented group, one that included multiple graded stakes winner Somelikeithotbrown, multiple graded stakes placed Duke of Hazzard (FR), and graded stakes winner Cavalry Charge, Ivar (BRZ), under Joe Talamo, rallied stoutly down the lane to earn the victory in a track-record time of 1:39.49.

“This poor horse, I mean, when he runs, he runs so hard,” praised Talamo, after the race. “He's one of those you wish you could get about six, seven races a year. All the credit goes to Paulo Lobo and his team. Every time this horse runs, he has him A+ ready to go. No difference today. It set up well for us. They had a good pace, but I was loaded the whole way and just tried to get him a good trip around there.”

“We had been pointing him to that race at Churchill Downs, but we wound up running in Indiana, and it was great because he had a very good race there,” said Lobo. “He ran huge coming from a long way off. More importantly, he came back very well from that race.”

Lobo said a third start in the Breeders' Cup Mile is on the agenda for Ivar (BRZ).

“In the Breeders' Cup last year at Del Mar, he got stuck with an outside post position and it was a very slow pace that day for that kind of race, but he still ran very hard and very strong to finish third. He was gaining at the end. Both of his Breeders' Cup races were good ones.”

For now, the focus is on another Mile.

“When he would race in Argentina, he knows very well how to run a mile with one turn,” said Lobo. “It [E.P. Taylor] reminds me a little bit of the course at San Isidro in Argentina, which he used to run on. He's very accustomed to that, so I believe he will enjoy the course at Woodbine.”

As will the Brazilian-born Lobo, who will be making his second visit to Canada's Showplace of Racing.

His initial trip to Woodbine came almost 20 years ago.

“For sure I will be there. I'm coming to see him Wednesday at his barn. I came to Woodbine, but not to race, a long time ago, in 2004. I had one horse race there [Lady Preach was sixth in a maiden special weight race on August 22, 2020]. I'm looking forward to coming back.”

While his horse likely won't be prominent in the early stages of the Woodbine Mile, Lobo is hoping to see his turf star's typical late-running talents kick-in down the long E.P. Taylor stretch.

“His turn of foot is what comes to mind first for me. He can really put in a powerful late run. Hopefully, there can be some strong early pace and it will set up nicely for him.”

Joe Talamo, who has 2,256 career wins as of September 12, will be aboard on Saturday.

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Trainer Mark Casse sent out back-to-back winners of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile when Tepin turned the trick in 2016 and World Approval followed suit in the next renewal.

This year, Casse looked to have a leading contender in Filo Di Arianna, who was coming off impressive victories over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup and the Grade 2 King Edward.

“He came up with a minor injury,” said Casse, who is in the midst of a grueling run at the Keeneland September yearling sales. “The good news is we caught it very early. He'll be just fine.”

And, with the Casse stable deep in quality, the trainer still has Get Smokin and March to the Arch for Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million feature which is a “Win and You're In” for the Breeders' Cup Mile, a race which the trainer won with Tepin in 2015 and World Approval two years later.

Get Smokin is a relative newcomer to the Casse ranks and finished second to subsequent Grade 1 winner (and Woodbine Mile entrant) Shirl's Speight in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby in his first outing for his new interests on February 5.

A journey to Dubai was next and is best forgotten.

“That didn't go well from the start,” said Casse. “He didn't really ship over very well. He just was never happy over there. He ran a clunker, but he came back and he's run very well ever since.”

Since returning to North America, Get Smokin has been prominent in three outings with the most recent a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Fourstardave over one mile of Saratoga turf.

And while Get Smokin has done much of his running on the front end, Casse believes the 5-year-old gelding is adaptable.

“I think the race will set up nice for him,” said the trainer. 'He's going to be pretty close to the lead, but doesn't have to be on the lead, and he got a good post (No. 8).”

March to the Arch, a 7-year-old gelding who will be making his third Woodbine Mile appearance, ended fourth last year after running second in the 2020 edition while coming off a victory in the King Edward.

After finishing second while making his local 2022 bow in the Connaught Cup, the Live Oak Plantation homebred was well-backed in the King Edward but finished fourth.

“For 'March,' it's all about the turf,” said Casse. “I think his last race there was some give in the ground, and he just didn't care much for it. He needs a hard turf, and pace. Give him those two things and he's more than capable of getting it done.”

Casse also offered insight on his other stakes starters this Saturday at Woodbine.

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