TORONTO— Modern Games (IRE), a 3-year-old son of Dubawi (IRE)-Modern Ideals (GB), was simply stunning in victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 $1,017,200 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” program.
Trained by Charles Appleby for owner-breeder Godolphin, the chestnut colt put his name in the record books as the first sophomore to win the turf classic.
And he did it in style.
Get Smokin, one of two (March to the Arch was the other) Mark Casse trainees, seized early control of the Mile, as a trio of local starters, War Bomber (IRE), Mighty Heart and Town Cruise rounded out the top four through an opening quarter reached in :23.08, as Buick and Modern Games (IRE) settled into eighth of 11.
It was still Get Smokin calling the shots after a half in :45.79, the 5-year-old son of Got Stormy holding a half-length advantage over War Bomber (IRE), as Modern Games (IRE) remained eighth, with a wall of horses in front of him.
As the field navigated the turn for home, Buick roused his charge and the duo soon found daylight, methodically picking off their rivals with ease before taking command and sprinting away from the field.
Two lengths in front at the stretch call, Modern Games (IRE) crossed the wire a 5 ¼-length winner. Ivar (BRZ) rallied to best Finest Sound (IRE) by a neck for second, while Shirl’s Speight was fourth. Town Cruise (last year’s Mile victor), Mighty Heart, Wakanaka (IRE), March to the Arch, War Bomber (IRE), Get Smokin and Homer Screen (BRZ) rounded out the field.
The final time over firm ground was 1:32.77.
“He was back in the pack a little bit and he had to make a bit of room,” noted Buick. “But you saw he has that speed for a mile, you know, that you need to get yourself out of trouble, so, he picked up really fast and really good. It was a very good performance.”
“I didn’t know that,” said Alex Merriam, assistant to Charles Appleby, in regard to Modern Games (IRE) becoming the first 3-year-old to win the Mile. “He’s a lovely horse, you know. Obviously, he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year, and he’s got some solid form in Europe. He’s just a lovely horse and I’m delighted.”
With Saturday’s win, Modern Games (IRE), now 6-2-1 from 11 starts, earns a fees-paid berth to run in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on November 5.
Buick would love to get another chance at Breeders’ Cup glory with the multiple graded stakes winner.
“Very excited. Of course, he’s obviously a Juvenile Turf winner already last year, so you know he loves North American racing. We are very much looking forward to it.”
It capped off a memorable day for Appleby, Buick and Godolphin, who teamed with 2-year-old Mysterious Night (IRE) earlier on the card to take the Grade 1 Pattison Summer Stakes, also a “Win and You’re In” event.
Modern Games (IRE) paid $3.50, $2.30 and $2.20 and combined with Ivar (BRZ) ($3.10, $2.70) for a $10.10 exactor. Finest Sound (IRE ($6.30) completed a $67.20 triactor. A $1 superfecta with Shirl’s Speight returned $153.35.
Woodbine Press Release
Photo: Modern Games wins the Woodbine Mile (Michael Burns)