Got Stormy, coming off an impressive win over males in Saratoga’s Fourstardave Stakes, will be looking to replicate that feat when she goes postward as the one to beat in the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Saturday.
This 23rd running of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile, worth $1 million and contested over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, has attracted a field of 11. Scheduled as the afternoon’s ninth race (estimated post time of 5:42 p.m. ET), the Woodbine Mile will be featured during a live broadcast on TSN3 from 5-6 p.m. ET.
Under the terms of the Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ Challenge Series, the Woodbine Mile winner will be entitled to a fees-paid berth in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, which will be run at Santa Anita Park on November 2.
The four-year-old Got Stormy, owned by Gary Barber and Southern Equine Stable, was taking a sharp step upward in the one-mile Grade 1 Fourstardave and doubling up on the Saratoga turf course after capturing the restricted De La Rose Stakes over fellow distaffers a scant week earlier.
Her trainer, Mark Casse, will be looking for his third win in the Woodbine Mile after scoring back-to-back with the supermare Tepin in 2016 and World Approval the following year.
Got Stormy also has experience over the Woodbine Mile course and distance, having become a graded stakes winner last year in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen.
Tyler Gaffalione, who had been the Kentucky-bred’s regular rider but had the Fourstardave mount on the Casse-conditioned March to the Arch, will be back in the saddle as he competes in Canada for the first time.
Raging Bull was the second choice in the Fourstardave but, like Got Stormy, the four-year-old French-bred colt found himself well off the pace when runaway leader Gidu opened up by double digits. Rallying wide from last in the field of 10, Raging Bull was beaten 2 ½ lengths but won the battle for second money over favoured stablemate Uni and March to the Arch.
Joel Rosario, who piloted Raging Bull to victory in Del Mar’s Grade 1 Hollywood Derby and Saratoga’s Grade 2 Hall of Fame and Grade 3 Saranac last year, regains the mount.
His trainer, Chad Brown, is riding the crest of three straight Eclipse Awards and a second consecutive Saratoga training title.
Lucullan is conditioned by Kiaran McLaughlin, who won the 2007 Woodbine Mile with Shakespeare, and races for the international powerhouse Godolphin.
A five-year-old Kentucky-bred, Lucullan showed ability last year and finished second in Belmont’s Grade 3 Hill Prince over 1 1/8 miles of turf, splitting subsequent multiple Grade 1 winners Yoshida and Bricks and Mortar.
The turf specialist is two-for-two this year with those victories coming at 1 1/16 miles in an allowance race at Belmont and Saratoga’s Lure for non-winners of a stakes race this season.
Luis Saez, aboard for those two tallies, again will do the honours.
Awesometank, a five-time listed stakes winner and placed in two Group 3 stakes in England, will be journeying across the pond for the second time this year.
In her first trip, the four-year-old filly finished second behind Sistercharlie, last year’s Eclipse Award winner as Champion Turf Female, in the Grade 1 Beverly D. over 1 3/16 miles at Arlington for trainer William Haggas.
John Egan will travel over for the mount.
Synchrony, winner of the Grade 2 King Edward over one mile of grass here June 29, has been freshened for a return engagement in the Woodbine Mile.
The six-year-old Pin Oak Stable homebred, who is based in Maryland with trainer Michael Stidham, was recording his second Grade 2 stakes win to go along with four Grade 3 tallies, all on the turf.
Flavien Prat, winner of this year’s Queen’s Plate aboard One Bad Boy and the Kentucky Derby via disqualification with Country House, will ride Synchrony for the first time.
Trained by Conor Murphy, Emmaus is also returning for his first start since finishing fourth in the King Edward, beaten two lengths by the winner.
A three-time listed stakes winner in England, Emmaus debuted in North America this spring for new owners M and J Thoroughbreds and Riverside Bloodstock and finished second, a neck back, in each of his first two starts. On the second occasion, the five-year-old Irish-bred was beaten a neck by fellow Woodbine Mile contestant El Tormenta here in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup over seven furlongs of turf.
Channing Hill gets the call.
Also shipping from south of the border will be Made You Look, a second Chad Brown-trained entrant who was supplemented to the race at a cost of $20,000.
Owned by Three Chimneys Farm, the five-year-old Kentucky-bred won the Grade 2 With Anticipation over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Saratoga as a juvenile and the Grade 3 Dania Beach at 7 ½ furlongs on the Gulfstream grass in 2017.
Locally-based rider Luis Contreras picks up the mount.
Silent Poet, a four-year-old Stronach Stable homebred, is among four local Woodbine Mile entrants with their eyes on the prize and is coming into the race in the best form of his career.
The Ontario-bred gelding had won the restricted Vice Regent at one mile on the grass here last year and is perfect in two 2019 starts with victories in the 6 ½-furlong prep for the Play the King and the Grade 2 Play the King itself over seven furlongs in record-setting fashion.
Regular rider Gary Boulanger will get a leg up from trainer Nick Gonzalez.
El Tormenta won the Connaught Cup in his local bow this spring but then was unlucky in three subsequent tries as he finished fourth in the Grade 1 Highlander at six furlongs on the grass, second in the Play the King prep, and fourth in the Play the King Stakes.
The four-year-old colt, owned and bred by Sam-Son Farm and conditioned by Gail Cox, will have a new rider in Eurico Rosa da Silva.
Sam-Son Farm won Woodbine Miles with Quiet Resolve (via a disqualification) in 1999 and Soaring Free in 2004.
Admiralty Pier, fifth in the Play the King, was Canada’s Champion Male Juvenile in 2017 after winning the Display at 1 1/16 miles on the Tapeta and finishing a close third here in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes at one mile on the grass.
The Kentucky-bred four-year-old gelding, trained by Barbara Minshall for Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford, has been lightly raced in subsequent campaigns with his lone success coming under second-level allowance terms over 1 1/16 miles of Tampa turf this winter.
Patrick Husbands, who previously won the Woodbine Mile in rein to 2001 champion Numerous Times, will ride Admiralty Pier for the first time.
American Guru, another Stronach Stable homebred, has shown plenty of promise as a winner of four of six starts but will be making his stakes debut in the Woodbine Mile.
Resurfacing with trainer Michael Doyle here in July after being away from the races for more than a year, the five-year-old got back on target in his second start with an allowance win over one mile on the inner turf course.
Rafael Hernandez retains the mount on the Kentucky-bred.
The lucrative Ricoh Woodbine Mile program will also feature the $300,000 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (Grade 1), the $250,000 Canadian Stakes (Grade 2) Presented by the Japan Racing Association, and the $125,000 Bold Venture Stakes (Grade 3).
Woodbine’s fall turf season will be in full swing for Ricoh Woodbine Mile weekend, which is also highlighted by a pair of Breeders’ Cup ‘Win And You’re In’ stakes races for two-year-olds on the Sunday card, the $250,000 Grade 1 Summer Stakes and filly companion Natalma Stakes to be contested over one mile on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
The two-year-old Sunday showcase day also includes a pair of new $100,000 five-furlong stakes to be run over Woodbine’s new inner turf course called the Ontario Racing Stakes and the Woodbine Cares Stakes for fillies.
First race post time on both Saturday and Sunday is set for 1:05 p.m. For more information, visit Woodbine.com.
$1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Grade 1)
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer – Morning Line
1 – El Tormenta – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Gail Cox – 20-1
2 – Lucullan – Luis Saez – Kiaran McLaughlin – 8-1
3 – Silent Poet – Gary Boulanger – Nicholas Gonzalez – 15-1
4 – Synchrony – Flavien Prat – Michael Stidham – 6-1
5 – Got Stormy – Tyler Gaffalione – Mark Casse – 8-5
6 – Awesometank (GB) – John Egan – William Haggas – 8-1
7 – Raging Bull (FR) – Joel Rosario – Chad Brown – 3-1
8 – American Guru – Rafael Hernandez – Michael Doyle – 30-1
9 – Made You Look – Luis Contreras – Chad Brown – 12-1
10 – Emmaus (IRE) – Channing Hill – Conor Murphy – 20-1
11 – Admiralty Pier – Patrick Husbands – Barbara Minshall – 30-1
Stories courtesy Woodbine Communications
PHOTO: Got Stormy prepping for the Ricoh Woodbine Mile contender under jockey Jerome Lermyte. (Michael Burns Photo)