TORONTO, ON – Live Oak Plantation’s homebred World Approval continued his 2017 graded stakes turf success, using a rail trip to score in Saturday’s Grade 1, $800,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile at Woodbine Race Track.
The Woodbine Mile is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with World Approval receiving an automatic berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar on Saturday, November 4.
Breaking cleanly along the rail, World Approval dueled for the lead alongside Dragon Bay through early fractions of :23.77, :46.45, and 1:10.31. Jockey John Velazquez angled him inwards to save ground on the far turn, then shook clear of his rivals and completed the mile-long turf race in a final time of 1:33.05.
“He was going so well the whole way around,” said Velazquez, who was extending his record number of Woodbine Mile winners to five. “I was just hoping when he switched down the lane and I asked him that he would respond. That’s exactly what he did. As soon as he switched, I let him know, he took off. He was ready. He broke well today, no one seemed to want the lead, I just kind of left him there and he held on very well.”
After racing in ninth for most of the trip, Lancaster Bomber experienced traffic trouble on the initial stretch drive before finding a hole between foes and raced up for second. Long On Value broke slowly and trailed until the stretch, angling out and finishing strongly to take third by a nose over Mondialiste. Arod, Dutch Connection, Conquest Panthera, Tower of Texas, Glenville Gardens, Best Bard, Deauville, and Dragon Bay completed the order of finish.
The win was trainer Mark Casse’s second straight in the Woodbine Mile, following Tepin’s triumph in 2016. The 5-year-old gelded son of Northern Afleet improved his career record to 23-10-2-4 with earnings of $1,837,363. Like Tepin, Casse hopes to take his star pupil west to the Breeders’ Cup later this fall.
“As long as he’s healthy, we are going to the Breeders’ Cup,” Casse said. “Am I confident we can win? I don’t think I would change places with anybody.”
World Approval returned $6.70 to win, $3.90 to place, and $3 to show. Lancaster Bomber brought back $5.30 to place and $4 to show, while Long On Value paid $5.30 to show.