The Grade 1 Woodbine Mile
Woodbine / September 14 / Race 11 / 6:13 EDT
by TimeformUS Analyst Justin Finch
The Grade 1, $1,000,000 Woodbine Mile has attracted a field of 11 horses to go a one-turn mile on the scenic Woodbine turf course. The field contains no Grade 1 winners, but it does contain several winners of lesser graded stakes.
According to the TimeformUS Pace projector, the pace of the Woodbine Mile will favor neither frontrunners nor closers. Ancil is projected to be on a clear early lead at the opening half. Silver Freak is a close second. Bobby's Kitten is a stalking third. Then there's a gap back to Dorsett, Grand Arch, and Jack Milton. The others should be considered closers or deep closers in here.
A horse we find very interesting in the Woodbine Mile is the six-year-old Trade Storm. Bred in Great Britain, he has two victories at this mile distance, one of them in England and one of them in a Group 2 in the UAE. In addition, looking at the speed figures he has earned overseas, we see that his two lifetime top speed figures, 124s both, were earned in losing efforts at this one-mile distance.
Trade Storm has made one start at Woodbine, finishing third to Wise Dan and Za Approval in this race a year ago (a pardonable sin) and earning a speed figure of 116. Going into this race last year, he had been running speed figures in England in the 116-124 range. His last two speed figures this year since returning from a 112-day freshening in July? 118 and 121. Both numbers are better than anything his opponents have been running of late. Trade Storm is a strong contender.
As far as the rest of this field is concerned, Grand Arch and Jack Milton exit the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga, where they finished a close second and third, respectively, to Seek Again, each earning speed figures of 113 for their efforts. Of the two, Jack Milton seemed to have the more difficult trip. Grand Arch spent a good chunk of the race in the "garden spot," stalking the duelling frontrunners in the clear, while Jack Milton ran an excessively slow opening quarter and had some difficulty getting a clear path in the stretch.
Castellano again rides Jack Milton for Todd Pletcher (a combo rated 100), but note that Pletcher gets a rating of "only" 82 at Woodbine, on a small sample, as opposed to a 100 rating overall.
Kaigun and Lockout exit the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes at Woodbine, where they ran 1-2 over a distance of seven furlongs, both earning strong speed figures of 111. Both horses received excellent pace set-ups, racing well off of an early pace that was fast (as denoted by the race fractions and pace figures being color-coded in red). However, Kaigun was not playing his best game going seven furlongs. He has put up one strong performance after another at distances between eight and eleven furlongs, and done so against top competition in races that received strong Race Ratings. What is more, his trainer, Mark Casse, gets a rating of 89 going sprint to route.
We prefer Trade Storm and Kaigun. We will let the odds determine our win bet.