Woodbine Mile one-liners

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

September 16th, 2017

A five-strong European contingent, plus a few North American-based contenders with top-level credits on their resumes, make for a contentious renewal of the Woodbine Mile (G1). Particularly in such an open-looking race, the free berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Del Mar hinges on who gets the best set-up.

Here’s my summary judgment of each entrant, in post position order:

#1 World Approval has the class as a multiple Grade 1 winner, but it’s unclear if a one-turn mile on firm turf plays to his strengths, or if he’d prefer a stiffer test of stamina, and 124-pound highweight status doesn’t help.

#2 Tower of Texas was beaten only a half-length by Tepin here last year at odds of 23-1, but he’ll need a perfect storm to replicate that, or go one better, in a bigger field.

#3 Long on Value rejuvenated himself as a closing turf sprinter, and the chance to get added ground while sticking to one turn could be the ideal scenario for the 15-1 overlay.

#4 Best Bard’s closest brush to glory is that his sire Shakespeare won the 2007 running, because he’s outclassed on his own merits.

#5 Dragon Bay is a capable opportunist when the chance presents itself, but it’s doubtful that a race of this depth and magnitude will fall into his lap.

#6 Deauville brings high-class international form to bear on the cutback in trip, with the main question being if he can outkick every rival or if he’ll find one a bit too sharp.

#7 Conquest Panthera comes off a career high in the local prep, but he’ll need to take another step forward to threaten.

#8 Mondialiste doesn’t enter on the crest of a wave as he did for his 2015 triumph, and unless a return to Woodbine has curative powers, he’ll find it difficult to join Wise Dan as a two-time winner.

#9 Arod is a wild card as a firm-turf miler who would be a threat at his best, but it’s anyone’s guess if he can bring his “A” game in his first start back from Australia for a new yard.

#10 Lancaster Bomber isn’t your typically expendable Ballydoyle pacemaker, as he’s finished second to the likes of Oscar Performance, Churchill, and Barney Roy, and the War Front half to Excelebration is dangerous under a feathery 112 pounds.

#11 Dutch Connection is a seven-furlong specialist in European conditions, but the one-turn mile on firm turf will suit him to a tee, possibly shaping as his best shot at an elusive Grade/Group 1 laurel.

#12 Glenville Gardens could be the local who makes the frame at big odds, considering he’s three-for-four over course and distance and figures to employ more patient tactics than in last year’s edition.