They Are Off's feature race of the weekend comes on a Sunday this time around as we analyze the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Woodbine Mile from Woodbine in Canada. This race is considered one of the leading preps for the Breeders' Cup Mile to be run on Saturday, November 6 at Churchill Downs. There will be a field of thirteen going postward at Woodbine for the Mile and the morning-line favorite is The Usual Q.T. at 3-1.
The top selection in the race is #12 Famous Name, a Juddmonte horse coming to run in North America for the first time. He has hit the board in 17 of 19 lifetime performances, although the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last time out on September 4 was one of the misses. That sixth-place finish ended a three race win streak, all of which had come at the same track where he was outrun. Two of those wins were Group 3s. Don't forget the all-important first-time Lasix for the European import. #13 Grand Adventure comes next with Patrick Husbands aboard. Husbands had the ride in each of the last three efforts, which were a Grade 2 win, a Grade 3 win, and a Grade 2 second after leading most of the way at a furlong farther than this race. He has not been to the track since the end of July, however. You might want to check out the recent streak of blistering five-furlong workouts if you have any doubts as to Grand Adventure's fitness. Let's use a big 30-1 longshot in the third spot with #10 Woodbourne. Chantal Sutherland will have the riding assignment on this gelding that is uniquely comfortable of the Woodbine turf, having recorded six of his eight lifetime wins on the Woodbine grass. His lone graded race on the recent resume' was a disaster, an eighth in the 2009 Grade 2 Sky Classic at Woodbine. It would turn out to be his last race of 2009. Since returning, he has been first or second in all five starts, albeit those race have been claimers or optional claimers mostly, just one Stakes try the exception. Finally, for fourth I will use #6 Smokey Fire, who might be challenged by this distance. Quite simply, he has never been this far before. However, he has finished ahead of the other likely fourth-place candidate for me, #7 Signature Red, the last two times they met. Smokey Fire rallied late to win the Grade 2 Play The King at Woodbine going seven furlongs, so asking for that extra furlong will hopefully not be a stretch. Here is the play for the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Woodbine Mile:
$10 WP #12
$1 EX BOX 6-7-10-12-13
$1 TRI 12-13 with 12-13 with 6-7-10
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. They Are Off will be taking time off for a road trip next week to the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs. It is my intention to post selections for the Super Derby on Thursday, September 23. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!