A starting berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita is on the line north of the border on Saturday when 11 will go postward in the $1 million Woodbine Mile (G1). The “Win & You’re In” contest attracted an excellent group of local contenders and shippers alike, led by Fourstardave Stakes (G1) queen Got Stormy.
The pace of the Woodbine Mile is intriguing as it lacks a confirmed front runner. Silent Poet (#3) (15-1), Awesometank (#6) (8-1) and American Guru (#8) (30-1) look to be quickest in the cast, while Lucullan (#2) (8-1), Made You Look (#9) (12-1) and morning-line choice Got Stormy (#5) (8-5) also have a good measure of early presence.
I believe that the pace will be honest, but not fast enough to see the race fall apart in the final furlong. The edge goes to those that will track in the second flight.
$20 Win #2 Lucullan = $20
$10 Exacta Box 2-5 = $20
$1 Trifecta Key 2 with 3,5,9 with 3,4,5,6,7,9 = $15
Here is the cast:
EL TORMENTA (#1) (20-1) – Local hope is a Grade 2 winner on the course in 2019 and prepped for this with a fourth in the Play the King Stakes (G2) most recently. Gail Cox charge has been solid this season but will need a lifetime best to upset a fine cast.
LUCULLAN (#2) (8-1) – Value play was always loaded in the Lure Stakes at Saratoga most recently, and he showed fine athleticism when spurting to the lead when clear before holding on late. Lightly raced five-year-old is perfect from a pair of races this campaign and might peak in his third attempt off the long absence. Luis Saez comes along to ride once again.
SILENT POET (#3) (15-1) – Stronach homebred has never been better and dons a nifty 7-5-2-0 mark at Woodbine. The top local hopeful set a course mark for seven furlongs most recently and must be respected with his home-field advantage. Gary Boulanger will guide the contender.
SYNCHRONY (#4) (6-1) – Mike Stidham trainee was successful in his debut on this course in June when taking the King Edward Stakes (G2). Consistently very good son of Tapit has trained well in the interim, and the six-year-old will benefit if the pace is contested today. Turf ace Flavien Prat inherits the mount.
GOT STORMY (#5) (8-5) – Classy lass beat the boys with ease in earning her first Grade 1 trophy last time out for Mark Casse. Peaking filly has obviously never been better and she is also a graded winner from her lone appearance on the Woodbine green. Formidable chestnut is the one to beat under Tyler Gaffalione.
AWESOMETANK (#6) (8-1) – Import stayed on well when second in the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) in her U.S. debut for William Haggas. Intense Focus filly has early foot and could be dangerous on the cut back to one-mile in her local bow. Four-year-old will be close throughout.
RAGING BULL (#7) (3-1) – Chad Brown trainee is a consistent late runner who finished runner-up in the Fourstardave most recently. The stout closer will make one run in the stretch, and he might thrive with the long run for home in his initial Woodbine venture. Joel Rosario rides.
AMERICAN GURU (#8) (30-1) – Twice-beaten contender from the Michael Doyle barn was a sharp allowance victor in his latest foray. Five-year-old has never faced a field similar to this, though, and he will need marked improvement to contend late in the Woodbine Mile.
MADE YOU LOOK (#9) (12-1) – The second of the Chad Brown trainees led in midstretch of the Fourstardave before being outfinished inside the final furlong in advance of this test. Five-year-old has a lot of room for growth with just two races under his belt this campaign, and the price figures to be juicy with Luis Contreras taking the reins.
EMMAUS (#10) (20-1) – Conor Murphy charge has run well on the course in a pair of assignments this season, but he draws wide and looks to be a cut or two below the top contenders in this field.
ADMIRALTY PIER (#11) (30-1) – Play the King fifth owns just a single tally since December of 2017 and would be a surprise from the widest post in a fine field. Gelding faces a daunting task for conditioner Barbara Minshall.
PHOTO: Lucullan (c) Adam Coglianese Photography