Breeders’ Cup Roundup: Sept. 18, 2023

September 18th, 2023

Each week, J. Keeler Johnson reviews the latest news and results on the road to the 2023 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

Master of The Seas leads trio of qualifiers at Woodbine

The Saturday card at Woodbine in Canada featured three Grade 1 stakes awarding “Win and You’re In” berths to the Breeders’ Cup.

The highlight of the day was the Woodbine Mile (G1), a pivotal steppingstone toward the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). International raider Master of The Seas started as the 2-5 favorite off a four-length romp in the Summer Mile (G2) at Ascot in England and didn’t disappoint, launching a last-to-first rally to beat 2022 Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up Shirl’s Speight by 3 3/4 lengths in the fast time of 1:33.79.

This was a big run from a talented horse. Master of The Seas rarely runs a bad race, has picked up half a dozen graded/group stakes wins through the years, and achieved a classic placing when finishing second by a short head in the 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket in 2021. The Charlie Appleby trainee will be a logical win threat if he returns to North America for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

The Natalma (G1), a one-mile steppingstone toward the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), produced a similarly impressive outcome as She Feels Pretty surged from eighth place to smash a dozen rivals by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:35.34. Having previously rallied to win her debut sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over the Ellis Park turf course, She Feels Pretty is now 2-for-2 under the care of trainer Cherie DeVaux, establishing the daughter of Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Karakontie as one of North America’s leading hopes for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The one-mile Summer (G1) awarded a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) berth to Carson’s Run, a Christophe Clement trainee shipping in from Saratoga off a debut victory and a runner-up effort in the With Anticipation (G3). After trailing the field for half a mile, Carson’s Run finished full of run, storming past the leaders to prevail by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:35.70.