by Jeremy Plonk
September 13, 2019
$1,000,000 G1 WOODBINE MILE
Saturday, September 14, 2019
The Queen's Plate has more pomp and circumstance, and the Canadian International more history, but Canada's most important Thoroughbred race from an American perspective easily has become the Woodbine Mile. This race has produced a Breeders' Cup Mile top-3 finisher in 10 of the last 12 years, including 4 winners during that span. Last year, Divisidero exited the Woodbine Mile with a fourth-place run in the BC Mile to best its alumni ... and that was a 'down' year. The Saturday card at Woodbine also includes the G1 Northern Dancer and G2 Canadian.
GOT STORMY and RAGING BULL are the only G1 winners in this field, while RANGING BULL consistently has faced clearly the best competition among this lineup. G2 winners include EL TORMENTA, SILENT POET and SYNCHRONY. The filly AWESOMETANK is G1-placed. The class edge absolutely goes to RAGING BULL.
Woodbine is a 1-turn mile with an extremely long stretch run of 1,440 feet. EL TORMENTA, SILENT POET and AMERICAN GURU all offer local early speed that will be tested for class. ADMIRALTY PIER fits that mold as well and should be pressing the pace. MADE YOU LOOK has run much faster early pace figures than his running lines suggest and could be just off the speed, insuring more pace for stablemate RAGING BULL. The classy closers should have every chance to make their mark with a local table-setting.
The 1-2 rematch from Saratoga's G1 Fourstardave takes enter stage when filly GOT STORMY meets RAGING BULL for the second time. Carrying 6 fewer pounds at the Spa, GOT STORMY was razor-sharp from far back to win going away by 2-1/2 lengths. Now under equal weights at 123 pounds, RAGING BULL will try to turn the tables. Interestingly, both will get jockey changes back to former pilots (Tyler Gaffalione replaces Ricardo Santana aboard GOT STORMY, while Joel Rosario replaces Jose Ortiz aboard RAGING BULL). Santana and Ortiz instead will ride Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Prior to the Fourstardave, RAGING BULL had been playing second-fiddle to stablemate Bricks and Mortar, America's clear-cut top turf horse of 2019. This isn't a strong rendition of the Woodbine Mile, and suffice to say no one of Bricks and Mortar's ilk are in the lineup this time. GOT STORMY is the horse to beat for RAGING BULL, and the filly does have a local turf mile win in the 2018 G3 Ontario Colleen in tow. GOT STORMY paired stakes wins 7 days apart at Saratoga in the De La Rose and Fourstardave. You wonder if there's a price to pay for that maxxed summer effort at some point soon? With the weight shift, RAGING BULL may get what he needs in terms of form cycle advantage to flip the result. He's got the field's best BRIS late pace figures and that 1,440-foot stretch may be his best friend Saturday.
Beyond the Fourstardave rematch, SYNCHRONY may be the most accomplished of the North American participants. He's struggled at the G1 level in races like the Shadwell Mile and Turf Classic at Churchill, but his local prep win in the G2 King Edward at least answers the course question. Javier Castellano opts not to return for the Woodbine Mile ride, and stays at Belmont to ride a very nondescript Saturday card. Shed no tears as California turf ace Flavien Prat takes the call. The late BRIS pace figures for SYNCHRONY indicate he should be picking up runners in the lane.
LUCULLAN has won back-to-back races in New York for a Kiaran McLaughlin barn that wasn't on point at Saratoga. This is a very solid finisher who should save ground on the lone turn, and he's 2-for-2 with Luis Saez in the saddle. Unlike many in there, the vote of confidence from Saez to ride the Woodbine Mile is a refreshing plus.
Most Certain Exotics Contender: RAGING BULL is 10-for-11 in the superfecta lifetime and has the class edge with a good pace set-up in front of him.
Best Longshot Exotics Contender: Sent away at 15-1 in the G1 Beverly D when second to superstar Sistercharlie, don't expect the public to heavily back AWESOMETANK in her second US appearance either. Trainer William Haggas and jockey John Egan don't attract attention. AWESOMETANK gets in at just 116 pounds, a 7-pound allowance from the favorites.
Sending it in ($100 bankroll): $50 exacta part-wheel RAGING BULL with AWESOMETANK and LUCULLAN ($100).