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TORONTO, ON – Trainer Brandon Greer’s homebred gelding Town Cruise lulled his foes to sleep early, then used his reserve energy to secure a first career Grade 1 victory for all involved in Saturday’s $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile.
The Woodbine Mile is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Town Cruise receiving an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar this November.
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Originally 20/1 on the morning line, Town Cruise broke well from the rail at a hammered-down 8/1 price under Daisuke Fukumoto and went straight to the lead.
With Duke of Hazzard and fellow Japanese jockey Kazushi Kimura closely tracking outside his right hip, Town Cruise posted opening fractions of :24.08, :47.10, and 1:10.41.
The pair separated from the field heading into the far turn and Town Cruise maintained that advantage at the top of the stretch as Duke of Hazzard gave way.
The field jockeyed about in the stretch in a mad scramble for runner-up honors as Town Cruise drew off to a 2 1/4-length upset, completing the good one-turn mile event over the outer turf in 1:35.14.
“This is fantastic,” Fukumoto said after winning his first career Grade 1. “I am still in awe, it’s an unbelievable feeling. Winning a Grade 1 is my dream, and I got a good horse this year so far. He’s been good all year so far. For me, I am just crazy happy. I had pretty good confidence. I just knew for a shot I had to take (the) front. He went good, I took the lead, and wait and wait, and he finished well.”
European-based Space Traveller, eighth in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) and fourth last time out in the Mr. D Stakes (G1) in his prior North American appearances, rallied for second.
Raging Bull, third in this race in 2019, repeated that result again here, with March to the Arch and Ride a Comet a neck and a head behind him, respectively.
Duke of Hazzard, Olympic Runner, 8/5 favorite Set Piece, Avie’s Flatter, and Change of Control (the field’s lone female) completed the order of finish.
Town Cruise’s win was his third in 4 starts this season, with his lone defeat coming when second to Olympic Runner in the King Edward Stakes (G2) last time out after setting the pace. The Ontario-bred 6-year-old Town Prize gelding improved his record to 13-5-2-1 with $225,926 earned exclusively at Woodbine.
“It feels a little surreal at the moment, but I’m absolutely thrilled with him,” said Greer, whose first graded stakes victory came with a horse he co-bred with his father Terrence. “This horse is amazing. I absolutely love him. I could see him digging in, that’s something that he’s been able to do very well this year. Dig in in the late stages, even though he’s been in the front. I found it a little difficult to believe right until the final 1/16 (of a mile), and then I can see the other horses just didn’t have enough to catch up there.”
Town Cruise returned $19.30 to win, $10.10 to place, and $6.10 to show. Space Traveller brought back $10.20 to place and $6.30 to show. Raging Bull paid $3.70 to show.
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