The last 7 Woodbine Mile winners own a remarkable 7: 3-3-1 record in the Breeders' Cup Mile, so look no further than this race as North America's most important as we pivot to the championship season. World Approval swept both races a year ago, and this race has produced the likes of Tepin and Wise Dan in recent years. The Woodbine Mile kicks off an all-stakes pick four with a $200,000-guaranteed pool and is one of five stakes races on a loaded, 12-race card.
G1 winners OSCAR PERFORMANCE and DIVISIDERO make their Woodbine debuts. GOOD SAMARITAN is a multiple G2 winner in North America, but has been racing in peak G1 races of late. LA SARDANE is a French G2 heroine, while English G3 winner LORD GLITTERS has been G1-placed on the UK's biggest stages. STORMY ANTARCTIC has won on the G2-G3 level in Germany and France. DELTA PRINCE and MR. HAVERCAMP have won the main G2 steppingstone turf stakes at the meet. There's not a lead-pipe G1 turf horse in this field who is in prime form like we've seen some years. Class won't be the separator.
LA SARDANE set the tempo in the 7F prep and is drawn inside in post 2 with a near default trip up front unless OSCAR PERFORMANCE summons some of his lost early foot. This race could find someone very brave on the front end the way it sets up and a deep, deep closer could be compromised.
DELTA PRINCE is a very solid favorite at about 5-2 among the British bookmakers, a point I always like to note when those overseas respect the American turf horses more than their own. LORD GLITTERS is the lowest of the European raiders at 4-1, according to the bet shops. His bold rally in the G1 Fourstardave fell short against gritty front-runner Voodoo Song while 2 lengths clear of DIVISIDERO in third. The June 30 victory in Woodbine's G2 King Edward over this course/distance should set him up well. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens has had a marvelous summer run and Stronach Stables has a history of success on Woodbine's big stages. No doubt the veteran DIVISIDERO is trending the right direction of late for Kelly Rubley -- but the millionaire still lacks enough early interest to avoid what looks to be an uphill pace climb. The long Woodbine stretch should help him, however.
GOOD SAMARITAN owns a win over this course in the 2016 Summer Stakes at age 2, a race over this same 1-mile, 1-turn configuration. But his Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott abandoned the grass more than a year ago at Saratoga when winning the Jim Dandy. But his 1-for-7 dirt record since then - and the rise of stablemates Hofburg and Yoshida - give reason to send this one back to the turf for an attempt at resurrection. Give him a reasonable chance to wake up, but I prefer my horses to run in G1 spots because they belong here, not because they're trying to find out where they belong.
OSCAR PERFORMANCE pulled up as the 9-5 Arlington Million favorite and comes in amid a cloud of uncertainty. He reportedly took a few bad steps in the stretch and checked out at the clinic thereafter. He's had a trio of works at Saratoga since, and his Aug. 27 drill caught at XBTV.com didn't show any major red flags. He should get a great trip near the front and has class to boast cutting back. His 1-turn mile score in the G3 Poker was outstanding, so this could be right up his alley. Respect him under Jose Ortiz, but don't take too short of a price after his last. Fair odds fall around 4-1.
MR HAVERCAMP is unbeaten on the turf here in 4 starts and was a handy 4-5 winner of the G2 Play the King. But he'll be overlooked some here in the simulcast pools with more attention on the Americans. Sire Court Vision won this race and nobody rides this course better than Eurico Rosa Da Silva on a daily basis.
LORD GLITTERS and STORMY ANTARCTIC represent England, and while we saw invaders Mondialiste and Trade Storm win this race twice in recent years, they are the only fresh off the plane types to score in a race dominated historically by North American-based horses. David O'Meara pulled that trick with Mondialiste and seeks an encore by LORD GLITTERS. He's the stronger of this year's bidders from across the pond. LORD GLITTERS' third in the G1 Sussex has some mixed reviews with 1-2 finishers coming back to run 3rd and 5th in the G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. Still, his form looks solid vs. these Americans and is to be respected.
Most Certain Exotics Contender: DELTA PRINCE is 9-9 in the money with a win over the track. That's hard to look past in addition to top-flight connections.
Best Longshot Exotics Contender: Pace-wise, it's hard to argue that LA SARDANE has no excuses. Whether she's good enough, you'll get a price to find out. An exotics survival would spruce up gimmick prices. I'm going to try and stick her second at a price in the exacta.
Sending it in ($100 bankroll): $50 exacta DELTA PRINCE over LA SARDANE ($50). $10 exacta part-wheel MR HAVERCAMP, LORD GLITTERS, OSCAR PERFORMANCE over LA SARADE ($30). $20 exacta DELTA PRINCE over OSCAR PERFORMANCE ($20).