LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series has Canada all to itself this weekend, as a trio of “Win and You’re In” races will be held at Woodbine Racetrack outside of Toronto over two days, highlighted by Saturday’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1), which will award an automatic starting berth into the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1).
On Sunday, 2-year-olds take the spotlight, as the Summer Stakes (G1) and Natalma Stakes (G1) rate as automatic qualifiers into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), respectively.
The Ricoh Woodbine Mile (5-6 pm ET), along with the Summer and Natalma (4-6 pm ET) the following day, will be shown live on NBCSN, in association with TVG, as a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Win and You’re In Series – presented by America’s Best Racing.”
The $1 million Woodbine Mile has long been a key prep for the Breeders’ Cup, with Wise Dan (2012-2013) and World Approval (2017) using a win as a springboard to a Mile win, while Court Vision (2010) and Tepin (2016) also won the race and the Mile in their career. This year’s edition figures no different, as Gary Barber’s WAR OF WILL, who won the Preakness Stakes (G1) last year for trainer Mark Casse, will look to continue his ascent up the turf ranks when he starts as the likely strong favorite among eight entered on Wednesday.
The 4-year-old son of War Front was one of the top 3-year-olds of 2019 but has taken a new career path this year, as he was a close fifth in his seasonal debut in May in Santa Anita’s Shoemaker Mile (G1), also a “Win and You’re In” for the Mile, before winning Keeneland’s Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) July 10. War of Will, who was also ninth in last year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), is 5-for-16 lifetime, and a Woodbine Mile win would put him at or near the top of the North American turf division.
Blue Heaven Farm’s STARSHIP JUBILEE will look to join Ventura and Tepin as only the third female to win the Woodbine Mile and has a big chance based on her affinity for the local course. The 7-year-old daughter of Indy Wind is a seven-time graded stakes winner for trainer Kevin Attard and is 6-for-13 over the Woodbine turf, which includes a win in last year’s E.P.
Taylor (G1). Starship Jubilee is 18-for-37 lifetime and 4-for-5 this year, with a win over and Breeders’ Cup 2018 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner Sistercharlie (IRE) in Saratoga’s Ballston Spa (G2) in July. She enters off a fourth in the Aug. 23 Diana (G1).
Klaravich Stables’ VALUE PROPOSITION invades for trainer Chad Brown, and the 4-year-old son of Dansili (GB), who is 3-for-5 lifetime, will look to break through for his first career stakes win, while Chuck Fipke’s homebred SHIRL’S SPEIGHT, a son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Speightstown who is 2-for-2 lifetime, is long on talent and will step up off a win over fellow 3-year-olds in the Marine (G3) over the local Tapeta track on July 25. ADMIRALTY PIER, ARMISTICE DAY, MARCH TO THE ARCH, and OLYMPIC RUNNER are also entered for the Ricoh Woodbine Mile.
Photo: Woodbine Racetrack courtesy Woodbine