With a “Win and You’re In” berth to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) on the line, Saturday’s $800,000 Woodbine Mile (gr. I) at Woodbine is shaping up to be a truly international event with plenty of talent from top to bottom.
With a couple of local Canadian runners squaring off against two European shippers plus a talented group of U.S. stars traveling north of the border, there’s something for everyone in this one-mile turf test. I personally will be throwing my support behind the European #6 Lord Glitters, who ships in off a series of strong efforts in high-class events. In his last four starts, he’s finished second in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot, second in the Summer Mile Stakes (Eng-II) at Ascot, third with a troubled trip in the Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) at Goodwood, and first in the Strensall Stakes (Eng-III) at York.
Lord Glitters doesn’t have much in the way of tactical speed, but he does have class and a strong finish, which has carried him to three Racing Post Ratings in the 117-118 range this season. Those are similar to the numbers posted by his David O’Meara-trained stablemate Mondialiste during the summer of 2015; notably, Mondialiste also won the Strensall Stakes and followed up that effort with a victory in the Woodbine Mile.
I’m expecting Lord Glitters to follow the same script and likewise secure victory in the Woodbine Mile, though there isn’t much speed in this field and that could potentially compromise his chances while giving #7 Oscar Performance a big shot at victory. The latter, a son of Kitten’s Joy, has plenty of speed, which he demonstrated quite clearly while winning the one-mile Poker Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park earlier this year in the North American record-equaling time of 1:31.23 seconds.
Subsequently, Oscar Performance was pulled up while tiring at the finish of the 1 ¼-mile Arlington Million (gr. I), but he’s trained well since then and appears to have bounced out of the race just fine, so I’m tempted to draw a line through that effort and judge him off his previous form. And he can certainly boast plenty of eye-catching form from the last two years, including an impressive triumph in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I). His only pace challenge figures to come from the filly #2 La Sardane, and since she’s drawn inside, I expect Oscar Performance to work out a perfect trip stalking a modest pace before taking command in the homestretch. From there, he should be tough to reel in.
#3 Delta Prince, winner of the King Edward Stakes (gr. II) over this course and distance in June, is another logical contender along with #9 Stormy Antarctic, a three-time Group 1 runner-up in Europe. I’ll use them underneath in the exotics while focusing most of my attention of Lord Glitters and Oscar Performance: