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Woodbine will host several major stakes races this weekend, including three Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events. The highlight of them all will come on Saturday with the running of the Woodbine Mile (G1), which provides the winner with a berth into the TVG Mile (G1) in early November.
This race has produced several quality Breeders’ Cup contenders in the past, including 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Tepin and 2017 winner World Approval, who were both trained by Mark Casse. The Canadian-based trainer brings another female headliner to this year’s event with Got Stormy, who set a new track record in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) last time out at Saratoga on only seven days’ rest. Casse has compared his star filly to Tepin, a scary thought for the rest of her competition. Several top-tier horses are ready to take her on, including Fourstardave runner-up Raging Bull for superstar turf trainer Chad Brown.
The winner of the Woodbine Mile will receive an automatic position in the $2 million TVG Mile (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of California will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
The Woodbine Mile serves as one of three Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events this Saturday. Churchill Downs will host two of its own: the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) for the Juvenile Fillies and the Iroquois Stakes (G3) for the TVG Juvenile. On Sunday, the action resumes at Woodbine with the running of the Natalma Stakes (G1) for the Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Summer Stakes (G1) for the Juvenile Turf. The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue on September 21 at Parx with the running of the Cotillion Stakes (G1), a “Win and You’re In” event for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
The full field from the rail out includes: El Tormenta, Lucullan, Silent Poet, Synchrony, Got Stormy, Awesometank, Raging Bull, American Guru, Made You Look, Emmaus, and Made You Look.
#7 Raging Bull – Major North American turf races often begin and end with trainer Chad Brown, whose pupil Raging Bull ran a winning race last time out in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) but had to settle for second after running into Got Stormy. He will try to turn the tables on her and is trending in the right direction. The back-to-back attempts at a mile indicate that Brown believes this to be his best distance.
#5 Got Stormy – This superstar filly needs no introduction. Trainer Mark Casse has had tremendous success in this race, with World Approval and Tepin being his most recent examples. This year, he brings in Got Stormy, whose track record at Saratoga against her male counterparts is made even more impressive by winning the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes just seven days earlier. Casse has called her the next Tepin, which is high praise for a filly that seems to have found her best form.
#6 Awesometank – Got Stormy won’t be the only filly in the race when Awesometank tries North American racing for the second time. After a solid overseas career, she shipped to the United States last time out, only to run into Sistercharlie in the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) at Arlington Park. She was able to run second in that spot, a solid moral victory when taking on a horse like Sistercharlie, who won last year’s Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Her connections have the confidence to try her against open company after she handled the North American racing style without issue.
#3 Silent Poet – Another local, he has never made a start outside of Woodbine, which could give a him a solid home track advantage. This year, he kicked off his season with a nice allowance win in July before coming back to win the Play the King Stakes (G2) last time out. He defeated a solid field by 1 3/4 lengths for his first graded stakes victory. Now, he must prove that he can tackle even tougher company.
#2 Lucullan – Last time out, Lucullan picked up the first stakes win of his career in the Fasig-Tipton Lure Stakes at Saratoga. That race made him a perfect two-for-two on the season and he looks to be in the best form of his life heading into this race. This will be just his second trip away from the NYRA circuit, with his first coming in the 2018 Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds. He finished a disappointing sixth, so his connections are hoping for a better result this time around.
#4 Synchrony – Since moving to the turf in early 2017, this horse has turned into a star. He has racked up six stakes victories over the last two years, including last time out in the King Edward Stakes (G2) over this race course. That may have been the best effort of his career, and he is training well heading into this spot. The only thing missing on his resume is a Grade 1 triumph, which could change after this race.
#9 Made You Look – This surprise entry came in at the last second, but this horse fits, and with a top effort, he could make an impact against this group. This will also serve as his third race off of the layoff, which could yield some improvement. Last time out, he was fifth, beaten 4 lengths, in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1). Look for him to be close to the early pace.
#1 El Tormenta – This local horse will take a crack at winning Woodbine’s most prestigious race. He kicked off his season with a win in the Connaught Cup Stakes (G2), but he has lost three straight since. Last time out, he was fourth in the Play the King Stakes (G2), losing to fellow rival Silent Poet by 2 1/2 lengths.
#8 American Guru – After a nice allowance/optional claiming victory over this course last time out, the Stronach Stables homebred will move way up in class. He is four-for-six lifetime, with his victories coming at four different tracks, and while that’s a solid resume, he has never faced stakes company. That will be his major test in this ultra-difficult spot.
#10 Emmaus – Three races back, he made his North American debut at Belmont Park, running second in the Elusive Quality Stakes. After that effort, he then came to Woodbine, where he again ran second, this time in the Connaught Cup Stakes (G2). Last time out, he was fourth in the local King Edward Stakes (G2) but only lost by 2 lengths. Even though he’s still searching for his first North American victory, he has run well in each start.
#11 Admiralty Pier – He’ll give graded stakes company a shot once again after unsuccessful attempts in the past. He won the first race of his 2019 season against allowance/optional claiming foes at Tampa Bay Downs before finishing fifth in the Tampa Bay Stakes (G3). He then came to Woodbine, where he is winless so far, finishing fourth in an allowance and fifth last time out in the Play the King Stakes (G2).
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