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Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine anchors final Breeders’ Cup Challenge weekend

October 11, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

With the 28th Breeders’ Cup fast approaching at Churchill Downs November 4 and 5, Woodbine Race Course outside of Toronto is set to host the final three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races Sunday over its world class turf course.

The highlight of the weekend is the grade I, $1.5 million Pattison Canadian International, which will award an automatic starting berth into the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf. Under the enhanced conditions of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge, the International winner will have their $90,000 entry fee into the Turf paid for and their connections will receive a $10,000 travel allowance for a North American winner and $20,000 for an overseas runner.

Run at 1 ½ miles, the International figures to be led by K K Al Nabooda and R A Albahou’s JOSHUA TREE (IRE), who won the International last year, when he was in trainer Aidan O’Brien’s barn. The 4-year-old son of Montjeu (IRE) was sold last winter and now resides with trainer Marco Botti. While Joshua Tree enters just 1-for-6 on the year, he does exit a third-place finish behind subsequent Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream (GER) in the group I Grosser Preis von Baden at Baden Baden.

Catherine O'Flynn’s MORES WELLS (GB) should also receive plenty of support. The 7-year-old son of Sadler’s Wells has been a world traveler throughout his career and was second in the International last year when trained by Richard Gibson. Now in the barn of Mike Delzangles, Mores Wells enters off a second-place finish in the group III Stockholm Cup at Taby, a race the 8-for-39 lifetime runner won last year before heading to Woodbine.

Juddmonte Farm’s REDWOOD (GB) won the grade I Northern Dancer over the course and distance last year and then returned to finish third in the International. The 5-year-old son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf winner High Chaparral (IRE) is winless in three starts this year and is 4-for-15 overall for trainer Barry Hills.

O’Brien could be back this year with a pair for Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Susan Magnier in TREASURE BEACH (GB) and ST NICHOLAS ABBEY (IRE). The former, a 3-year-old son of Galileo who won Arlington Park’s grade I Secretariat in August and the latter, a 4-year-old son of Montjeu (IRE), who won the group I Coronation Cup at Epsom in June and was fifth in the Arc.

Robert Courtney’s RAHYSTRADA is a multiple graded stakes winner and comes to Woodbine off a win in the grade III Kentucky Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs for trainer Byron Hughes. The 7-year-old son of Rahy is 12-for-34 lifetime and also won the Colonial Cup Turf in June.

Mr. and Mrs. Bert Firestone’s WINCHESTER would offer the North Americans their best hope should he start for trainer Christophe Clement. The 6-year-old son of 1987 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Theatrical (IRE) is a multiple grade I winner and won Saratoga’s grade I Sword Dancer in August, for his lone win from three 2011 starts. The 6-for-24 lifetime runner was fifth in Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in his last start and is 6-for-24 lifetime.

KARA'S ORIENTATION, who won the local grade II Sky Classic over the course in August and MUSKETIER, a multiple graded stakes winner who won the local grade III Singspiel in June, could provide the best hope for the Canadian contingent. ARCTIC COSMOS, BRONZE CANNON, GALILEO'S CHOICE (IRE), HAILSTONE, QUEST FOR PEACE (IRE), SIMMARD and STORMY LORD could also start.

The grade I, $1 million E.P. Taylor will offer a guaranteed spot into the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Run at 1 ¼ miles, the Taylor is shaping up with a deep field that could be led by Haras D'Etreham’s DREAM PEACE (IRE) for trainer Robert Collet. The 3-year-old daughter of Dansili (GB) won the group II Prix de la Nonette in her last start at Deauville in August and is 4-for-9 lifetime.

Augustin Stable’s DYNA WALTZ, who has placed in several graded stakes this year for Jonathan Sheppard and the trio of MEKONG MELODY, MISS KELLER (IRE) and PERFECT SHIRL for local trainer Roger Attfield, would also warrant respect should they meet the starter. Miss Keller won the local grade II Canadian last year before finishing second in the Taylor.

The grade I, $500,000 Nearctic gives the winner an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Run at six furlongs, the Nearctic could be led by Juddmonte’s BATED BREATH (GB), who just missed by a nose to Dream Ahead in the group I Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock September 3. That runner returned to defeat three-time TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Goldikova (IRE) in Longchamp’s group I Prix de la Foret. Bated Breath, a 4-year-old son of Dansili (GB) is 5-for-12 lifetime and will look for his first career group/graded stakes score in the Nearctic.

Ghislaine Head’s RIGHT ONE (FR) missed in a photo in the grade I “Win and You’re In” Woodbine Mile for Clement and would offer stiff opposition. The 6-year-old son of Anaaba won Belmont’s grade III Jaipur in July and is 5-for-21 lifetime.

AWAKINO CAT, GRAND ADVENTURE, HEROS REWARD, SIGNATURE RED and YIELD BOGEY would also warrant respect should they start.

Ascot hosts Challenge Race on Champions Day

Saturday's group I, $1.56 million Queen Elizabeth II, sponsored by Quipco, will offer an automatic starting berth into the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile and will be headlined by the undefeated FRANKEL (GB). Juddmonte Farm’s 3-year-old homebred son of Galileo (IRE) is perfect in eight starts for trainer Sir Henry Cecil and looms a short-price favorite to annex his fifth career group I. Frankel is 4-for-4 this year, including a trio of group I’s, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in April, the St. James’s Palace at Royal Ascot in June and Sussex at Glorious Goodwood in his last start July 27.

Frankel, who will likely be making his last start of the year in the Queen Elizabeth II, appears to lay over what is shaping up as a short field for the one-mile contest. R C Strauss’ IMMORTAL VERSE (IRE) defeated Goldikova in the group I, “Win and You’re In” Jacques le Marois at Deauville in her last start August 15 to earn an automatic berth into the Mile. The 3-year-old daughter of Pivotal (GB) is 4-for-7 lifetime for trainer Robert Collet and looms Frankel’s main foe.

John Manley’s DICK TURPIN (IRE) is 9-for-19 lifetime for trainer Richard Hannon and has knocked heads with the best milers in the world the past two years. The 4-year-old son of Arakan is a multiple group I winner and enters off a win in the group I Premio Vittorio Di Capua at San Siro September 24.

Ascot also hosts the group I, $2.028 Emirates Airline Champion, where Juddmonte’s TWICE OVER (GB) will look to win the 1 ½-mile contest for the third year in a row for Cecil. The 6-year-old son of Observatory was third to Zenyatta in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita and is 12-for-28 lifetime in a distinguished career. Stablemate and 2009 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner MIDDAY (GB) is also slated to start. The 5-year-old daughter of Oasis Dream (GB) is also a multiple group I winner and is 9-for-21 lifetime.

SO YOU THINK (NZ) could wheel back on short rest after finishing fourth in the Arc October 2 for O’Brien. The 5-year-old son of High Chaparral (IRE) is a multiple group I winner, is 12-for-18 lifetime and could use the Champion as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Keeneland Offers Juvenile Fillies Turf Bid

Keeneland kicks off the “Win and You’re In” action with Thursday’s grade III, $150,000 JP Morgan Chase Jessamine, which will offer a guaranteed berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Run at 1 1/16 miles, the Jessamine is led by Caroline Forgason’s SOMALI LEMONADE, who looked sensational winning her career debut at Belmont September 11 for trainer Michael Matz. The 2-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid closed from last to win going away and could go favored.

Gillian Campbell and trainer Michael Pino’s SLIP ALONG BAND is perfect in two career starts, including Monmouth Park’s Junior Champion September 4. The daughter of Bowman’s Band brings two-turn speed and experience to the Jessamine.

Robert Zoellner’s SOONERETTE won the Happy Ticket at Louisiana Downs in her last start September for trainer Donnie Von Hemel. The daughter of Master Command is 2-for-4 lifetime but has never lost in two turf starts.

Under the “Win and You’re In” format, the first-place finishers in a record 68 designated Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races will earn starting positions into a corresponding of the 15-race, $26 million Breeders’ Cup World Championships on November 4-5 at Churchill Downs. If the Breeders’ Cup Challenge winner is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by Oct. 24, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees to start in the designated race and provide `a North American based stable a $10,000 travel allowance and an overseas stable a $20,000 travel allowance.

(Click on link for complete Challenge schedule:

Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships

A listing of the upcoming major stakes races this weekend:

Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf
October 15 – $200,000 Hawthorne Derby at Hawthorne. Run at 1-1/8 miles on the turf for 3yos.
October 15 – $150,000 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita. Run at 1-1/8 miles on the turf for 3yos.
October 15 – $100,000 Knickerbocker at Belmont Park. Run at 1-1/8 miles on the turf for 3yos & up.
October 16 –$1.5 million Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine. Run at 1-1/2 miles on the turf for 3yos & up.

Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
October 15 – $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Run at 1-1/8 miles on the turf for 3yo fillies.
October 15 – $100,000 Athenia at Belmont Park. Run at 1-1/16 miles on the turf for fillies & mares.
October 16 – $1 million E.P. Taylor at Woodbine. Run at 1-1/4 miles on the turf for fillies & mares.
October 16 – $100,000 Harold C. Ramser at Santa Anita. Run at 1 mile on the turf for 3yo fillies.

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
October 15 – $100,000 Spend A Buck at Calder Race Course. Run at 1-1/16 miles for 3yos & up.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
October 13 – $150,000 Jessamine at Keeneland. Run at 1-1/16 miles on the turf for 2yo fillies.

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
October 16 – $500,000 Nearctic at Woodbine. Run at six furlongs on the turf for 3yos & up.