Weekend Lineup Presented By Sky Racing World: Woodbine Turf Champions Day, 2-Year-Olds Step Out At Churchill

A trio of automatic Breeders’ Cup berths are on the line as compelling editions of the Woodbine Mile (G1T), Summer Stakes (G1T), and Natalma Stakes (G1T) headline Saturday’s Turf Champions Day card of racing at Woodbine in Ontario.

The six-horse field for the $1 million Woodbine Mile is led by Shirl’s Speight, runner-up in last year’s FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1); local turf star War Bomber (IRE); and trainer Charlie Appleby’s Master of the Seas, who returned from a 3 1/2-month layoff with a rousing 4-length victory in the July 15 Fred Crowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes (G2) at Ascot.

The Roads to the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks kick off this Saturday at Churchill Downs, with the G3 Iroquois and G3 Pocahontas each offering 10 points to the winner. Nine 2-year-olds have been entered in each contest. The card will also feature the $400,000 Locust Grove (G3), $300,000 Open Mind (Listed), and $300,000 Louisville Thoroughbred Society.

Other highlights from this weekend’s live Thoroughbred racing action are the G3 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational at Aqueduct and the G3 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup at Pimlico.

Seven 3-year-old fillies headline the Jockey Club Oaks, the final leg of the Fasig-Tipton Fillies Turf Triple series.

The 17th running of the one-mile BWI Turf Cup drew a field of seven with two main-track only entrants. It is the highlight of an 11-race program featuring six stakes, three each scheduled for grass and dirt, worth $650,000 in purses on the penultimate weekend of Pimlico’s boutique nine-day fall meet.

Meanwhile, in Australia, more than AU$87 million in purses will be distributed across a multitude of stakes races during the Sydney Everest Carnival beginning this Friday night and including the seventh running of The Everest on Oct. 13 (US date/time).


3:50 p.m. – Grade 3 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs

Saturday’s 55th running of the $300,000 Pocahontas features an ultra-competitive group of nine 2-year-old fillies.

Hot Beach broke her maiden by two lengths in the Ellis Park Debutante under jockey Declan Cannon. The Brian Lynch-trained daughter of Omaha Beach defeated fellow Pocahontas rivals Riperton and Youalmosthadme one month ago in the seven-furlong race. Jockey Flavien Prat will pick up the mount on Hot Beach in the Pocahontas from post No. 9.

Chief among Hot Beach’s rivals in the Pocahontas is Youalmosthadme, who returns to Churchill Downs where she demolished her rivals in the Kentucky Juvenile by 8 ¾ lengths. Trained by Brad Cox, Youalmosthadme stumbled badly at the start of the Ellis Park Debutante but recovered to finish third as the heavy 4-5 favorite. Tyler Gaffalione, who was in the saddle for the Kentucky Juvenile, will have the call in the Pocahontas from post 7.

Another intriguing filly that entered the Pocahontas is V V’s Dream, who finished second to future Grade 1 winner Brightwork in the Debutante Stakes at Ellis Park. Trained by Kenny McPeek, V V’s Dream has been on the sidelines since her runner-up effort 10 weeks ago. Prior to the Debutante Stakes, V V’s Dream convincingly won her debut at Churchill Downs by 6 ¼ lengths. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. will be aboard from post 6.

McPeek is not a stranger to winning the Pocahontas. The veteran conditioner previously won the race with Fun and Feisty (2022), Daddys Lil Darling (2016) and Dothraki Queen (2015).

Pocahontas Entries

3:57 p.m. – Grade 1 Summer Stakes at Woodbine

My Boy Prince, who turned plenty of heads with his runaway victory in Woodbine’s Simcoe Stakes, will look to boost his status in Saturday’s bet365 Summer Stakes (G1T). The Ontario-bred has raced three times, all on Woodbine’s Tapeta surface, graduating impressively in his second appearance before his 14-length romp in the 6 ½-furlong Simcoe for yearling sales graduates on August 27.

Woodbine’s perennial leading trainer has captured four previous runnings of the Summer, the most recent with Gretzky the Great in 2020. He also has entered Souper Attentive, Go With Gusto, Golden Canary and King of the Track for the Summer. Go With Canary and Go With Gusto are cross-entered in Saturday’s Grade 1 Natalma for 2-year-old fillies.

Carson’s Run has been solid in his two career starts at Saratoga and looms a serious threat for the barn of trainer Christophe Clement. Both outings came over 1 1/16 miles of grass and include a game maiden win on August 6 and a second-place finish in a competitive renewal of the Grade 3 With Anticipation on August 31.

Trainer Kevin Attard has entered Bucyk, Bold Enoree and Airosa for the Summer with the latter-named pair also entered in the Natalma. Airosa captured the Catch A Glimpse, a 6 ½-furlong turf race for fillies, for her second straight win after finishing fourth in her debut.

The winner of the $500,000 Summer, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds, will earn a fee-paid berth for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, a one-mile race which will be run at Santa Anita on November 3.

Summer Entries

4:55 p.m. – Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs

The Road to Kentucky Derby 150 will begin Saturday at Churchill with nine 2-year-olds that entered the 42nd running of the $300,000 Iroquois Stakes.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen will attempt to win his fourth-career Iroquois with his trainees Risk It and Edified. Risk It, a precocious 2-year-old son of Gun Runner, dominated a six-furlong maiden special weight contest on Aug. 19 at Saratoga by 4 ½ lengths under jockey Tyler Gaffalione. Risk It earned a solid 91 Brisnet speed rating for his debut win. Gaffalione will be back aboard in the Iroquois from post No. 8.

Asmussen’s second entry in the Iroquois, Edified, broke his maiden on July 1 at Ellis Park by a widening 3 ½ lengths at odds of 9-1. The runner-up in that race, Liberal Arts, returned to break his maiden at Ellis Park and will once again face Edified in the Iroquois. Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. will have the mount on Edified from post 4.

Asmussen previously won the Iroquois with Lucky Player (2014), Astrology (2010) and Capt. Candyman Can (2008).

Another visually impressive maiden special weight winner that entered the Iroquois is Patriot Spirit. Trained by Mike Campbell, Patriot Spirit powered clear to a six-length victory on debut at Colonial Downs. The son of Constitution arrived to Churchill early Monday morning in preparation for Saturday’s race. He’ll once again be ridden by veteran Jesus Castanon from post 9.

Iroquois Entries

5:07 p.m. – Grade 1 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine

Trainer Charlie Appleby has a remarkable record at Woodbine, with his last seven starters heading back to England with Grade 1 victories. On Saturday, Appleby will be looking for his third success in the G1 Natalma Stakes when he sends out Dazzling Star (GB) in the $500,000, one-mile turf race. The daughter of Blue Point and Dancing Sands has seen action three times, all in six-furlong races, with the two most recent being straightaway turf runs.

The Natalma also is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, a Grade 1 race over the same distance which will be run at Santa Anita on November 3. Fifteen fillies have been listed with four cross-entered for Saturday’s bet365 Summer Stakes.

Ozara (IRE), a maiden winner over 1 1/16 miles of “good” Saratoga turf in her only career start on August 6, will be stepping into stakes company for trainer Christophe Clement.

Trainer Mark Casse will be looking for his eighth victory in the Natalma, the most recent coming with Victory to Victory in 2016 and has entered a quartet of Golden Canary, Go With Gusto, Ready to Jam and Dancing Duchess.

Natalma Entries

5:42 p.m. – Grade 1 Woodbine Mile at Woodbine

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 for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile, to be run on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

Trainer Charlie Appleby’s Master of The Seas will be making his first appearance in North America after prosperous performances in both England and the United Arab Emirates. The 5-year-old son of Dubawi (IRE)-Firth of Lorne (IRE), who sports a record of 6-2-2 from 13 starts, is a five-time group winner along with a second and third at the G1 level.

Master of The Seas arrives at the Mile off a score in the one-mile Group 2 Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes on July 15. ​ ​

Dual hall of fame conditioner Mark Casse, who won consecutive editions of the Mile, in 2016 with Tepin and one year later with World Approval, has three chances to add a third victory.

Ice Chocolat, a 5-year-old Brazilian-bred son of Goldikovic-Amor Chocolat, brings a record of 5-5-2 from 18 starts into his latest engagement. The multiple graded stakes-placed dark bay took the Group 3 Grande Prêmio Federação Internacional de Autoridades Hípicas at Brazil’s Hipódromo da Gávea on Nov. 7, 2021, in his final start of the campaign. The gelding, bred by Haras Niju, made his North American debut with a fifth-place effort in his first start of 2022 and then contested his next seven starts at Woodbine.

He arrives at the Mile off a third-place effort in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) which saw Ice Chocolat carried six- to seven-wide and then steadied before regrouping to close stoutly, missing the top spot by 1 ¼ lengths. Joel Rosario will be aboard on Saturday.

Ultra-consistent Lucky Score, a 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky-Miss Matzo, is 6-3-4 from 17 starts and has finished in the top three over his past seven starts. The bay gelding earned his second graded stakes victory after taking the six-furlong Highlander (G2) on July 1 at Woodbine. One year earlier, in September, he won the Vigil (G3). Sahin Civaci, who has partnered Lucky Score in all his starts this year, once again gets the call.

Casse’s third Mile hopeful comes in the form of My Sea Cottage. The 5-year-old son of Shalaa-Shim Sham has compiled a record of 3-1-6 from 16 starts. The bay gelding is no stranger to Woodbine, having contested three races here, including the 2021 Toronto Cup Stakes (fifth). His most recent outing was a fourth to Casa Creed in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1). Dylan Davis will ride.

A five-time winner, along with a second and two thirds, from 17 starts, Shirl’s Speight rhymed off three straight trips to the winner’s circle from Jan. 15 to April 15 last year, capped off by a nose triumph in the Makers Mark Mile (G1). Under the tutelage of dual Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, the 6-year-old son of Speightstown-Perfect Shirl won his debut, a seven-furlong race over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, on July 4, 2020, by eight lengths.

The bay, who was fourth in this May’s Dubai Turf (G1) at Meydan, finished fourth in last year’s Mile and second, at 55-1, to Modern Games in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). John Velazquez, who has a record five Woodbine Mile victories, including back-to-back (2012-13) triumphs with Wise Dan, will be in the irons.

Trained by Norm McKnight, War Bomber (IRE), a 5-year-old son of War Front-Sun Shower (IRE), heads into his second Mile (he was ninth last year) off a stellar winning performance in the King Edward Stakes (G2T) on Aug. 19 at Woodbine. The gelding, claimed by Schickedanz for $25,000 in August 2021, brings a mark of 7-2-2 from 19 starts into Saturday’s race. Last August, War Bomber sprung an 18-1 upset in the Seagram Cup (G3), run at 1 1/16 miles on the Woodbine Tapeta. Rico Walcott, aboard for the past two outings, gets the call on the Coolmore-bred bay.

Woodbine Mile Entries

The post Weekend Lineup Presented By Sky Racing World: Woodbine Turf Champions Day, 2-Year-Olds Step Out At Churchill appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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