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Las Vegas, NV - The most lucrative race on North American soil of the weekend takes place at Woodbine Racetrack this Sunday, September 15. The Grade 1 Woodbine Mile will be contested on Woodbine's turf track as horses three years old and upward chase the winner's share of the $1 million purse.
The Woodbine Mile has attracted a small but quality field of six to go in race 10 on Woodbine's Sunday card. Post time is 5:38 PM. Let's take a look at the past performances of all six entries for the Woodbine Mile - five of which will be chasing the stellar Wise Dan. A win here will automatically mean a place in the Breeders' Cup Mile November 2.
Wise Dan - How good was Wise Dan in 2012? He is the only horse since 1981 to win three Eclipse Awards in one night. He was the runaway winner in Horse of the Year, Four-year-old & up male and Male turf (3yo&up). He has won eight straight races ahead of the Woodbine Mile and 13 of his last 15 races overall including the Breeders' Cup in November. This year he looks to be on an Eclipse Award path once again - four starts and four impressive wins. Last time out was the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga August 10 after the Grade 3 Firecracker Handicap in June, the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in May and the Maker's 46 Mile Stakes in April. He is simply the most dominant horse on the planet right now and is the defending champion in this race. Obviously Wise Dan is the favorite in the race - he will have John Velazquez in the saddle from post 4 at overwhelming 2-5 odds.
Za Approval - raced in stakes company for the first time in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes February 23 and finished fourth but followed that with a very nice win in the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream March 30 and another Grade 3 score - the Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth May 18. Last time out was another very good result - a second in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile behind Obviously at Hollywood Park June 29. He has won three of his last five starts all this year for trainer Christophe Clement and enters the Woodbine Mile in terrific form. Za Approval goes off as the 4-1 second choice on the morning line and will line up in the outside post with Garrett Gomez in the irons.
Trade Storm - British bred entry makes his North American debut Sunday after 26 career starts at home yielded five wins, two seconds and two third place finishes. He has placed in just one of his last five starts overall but earlier this year had a pair of wins in Dubai - the Grade 2 Zabeel Mile in March and a Handicap in February. He brings some hype into the Woodbine Mile and is the 8-1 third choice on the morning line. Trade Storm will have the legendary Gary Stevens in the saddle.
Dimension - British bred gelding made his first start ever at Woodbine and finished a very good second in the Grade 3 Bold Venture Stakes July 17 after shipping to North America in October. His first four races in North America were Allowance starts with a fourth at Keeneland in October being his best result before an impressive win last time out at 10-1 odds in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes here August 25. He had three wins and four seconds in 13 starts at home. A win last time out in the Play the King Stakes after his second in the Bold Venture has raised a few eyebrows ahead of the Woodbine Mile. Dimension departs from post 5 at 10-1 on the morning line.
Woodbine Mile betting at Woodbine Racetrack with OffTrackBetting.com
Excaper - finished second in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and looked good in the summer of 2012 with a win and a pair of seconds. He raced to a good second last September in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at Saratoga but closed out his 2012 campaign with a disappointing eighth in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs. He has just two starts in 2012 - an Allowance Optional Claiming score on this track July 19 after and eight month layoff and a very good second last time out behind Dimension in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes also on this track August 25. Excaper has looked very good in limited action this year and should be competitive against a very good field this week as well. Despite the recent success, he is being sent off at 12-1 odds - the second longest shot in the field with Woodbine's leading rider and two-time Sovereign Award winner Luis Contreras guiding him.
Riding the River - Last year's champion grass horse in Canada is the defending fourth place finisher in this race and has raced exclusively at Woodbine. He has just four starts this year - a reasonable second in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup Stakes May 26 after eight months away and a repeat win in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes June. Last time out was an OK third in the Grade 3 Play the King Stakes August 25 after his worst effort in quite some time - an ugly seventh in the Grade 2 Nijinsky July 21. He has nine wins, three seconds and two third place finishes in 23 career starts but does have three wins, two seconds and a third in his last eight starts overall. Riding the River is the longest shot in the field at 15-1 odds and departs from the rail Sunday.
Race 10 on Woodbine Racetrack's Sunday card with a Post Time of 5:38 PM.