2019 Woodbine Mile Cheat Sheet

Racing
Fillies Got Stormy, left, and Awesometank, right, rate as top contenders for the Ricoh Woodbine Mile Sept. 14. (Eclipse Sportswire-Michael Burns/Woodbine)

Saturday’s $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile is annually a highlight of the Toronto racetrack’s Thoroughbred meet and is a crucial “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series qualifying race for the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, held this year at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 2.

The Woodbine race has been won in past years by important turf milers such as Leroidesanimaux, Kip Deville, Wise Dan (twice), Tepin, and World Approval, and runners exiting the race have gone on to perform well in a variety of Breeders’ Cup events. For more on the race’s history, click here.

This year’s 23rd Ricoh Woodbine Mile drew a field of 11 horses and has a scheduled post time of approximately 5:42 p.m. ET. It will be televised live on FS2 as part of the “America’s Day at the Races” show and on TVG.

Whether you are interested in making a couple of bucks on the race or just want to know a little bit about this year’s runners, we’ve got you covered with our 2019 Woodbine Mile Cheat Sheet.


Michael Burns/Woodbine

1. El Tormenta (20-1)

Jockey: Eurico Rosa Da Silva

Trainer: Gail Cox

Owner: Sam-Son Farm

Career record: 12 starts – 3 wins – 3 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $232,556

Earnings per start: $19,380

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 108

Pedigree: Stormy Atlantic – Torreadora, by El Prado

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This 4-year-old gelding has changed his running style from a pacesetter to a stalker/closer over the past year, and that may be beneficial to his chances in the Woodbine Mile. He has only won once in those six starts since changing tactics, but usually can be counted on to muster a closing rally and at least secure a minor placing, which probably is his ceiling come Saturday. El Tormenta will be stretching out to a mile for the first time since August 2018, but on the positive side, he’s made 10 of 12 career starts on the Woodbine turf and landed his only stakes win on the surface in June when he annexed the Grade 2 Connaught Cup Stakes going seven furlongs. Eurico Rosa Da Silva, currently Woodbine’s leading jockey by both wins and earnings who announced that he would retire at the end of the current meet, will ride El Tormenta for the first time Saturday. Da Silva has won five prior riding titles at Woodbine, including the past four meets. He finished second in last year’s Woodbine Mile aboard Mr Havercamp. The Samuel family’s Sam-Son Farm, one of the most accomplished owners in the history of Canadian horse racing, has two Woodbine Mile wins: Quiet Resolve (1999, via disqualification) and Soaring Free (2004).


Eclipse Sportswire

2. Lucullan (8-1)

Jockey: Luis Saez

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Owner: Godolphin Racing LLC

Career record: 11 starts – 5 wins – 2 seconds – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $363,300

Earnings per start: $33,027

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 113

Pedigree: Hard Spun – Golden Velvet, by Seeking the Gold

Color: Bay

Age: 5

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Godolphin homebred son of Hard Spun enters Saturday’s Woodbine Mile with a perfect 2-for-2 record in 2019 and quietly has assembled an impressive career through three seasons, finishing in the money in nine out of 11 races. After more than a year’s absence from racing, Lucullan returned at Belmont Park on July 3 and easily won a 1 1/16-mile allowance race. He followed with a game win in the Lure Stakes at Saratoga going the same distance on Aug. 3. He’ll return to top-flight competition in the Woodbine Mile, but going back through his racing career reveals several quality efforts against the likes of Bricks and Mortar, Yoshida, Arklow, Robert Bruce, and Woodbine Mile contender Synchrony. This horse could be sitting on a career-best race come Saturday under trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s patient preparation, and he’s responded well to jockey Luis Saez’s handling in his two starts so far this year. The main question mark with Lucullan is his lack of experience at Woodbine, as he’ll be making his first career start on its unique turf course Saturday. Kiaran McLaughlin trained 2007 Woodbine Mile winner Shakespeare.


Michael Burns/Woodbine

3. Silent Poet (15-1)

Jockey: Gary Boulanger

Trainer: Nicholas Gonzalez

Owner: Stronach Stables

Career record: 11 starts – 6 wins – 3 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $301,197

Earnings per start: $27,382

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 112

Pedigree: Silent Name – Cara Bella, by Ghostzapper

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Stronach Stables homebred gelding has never raced at a track other than Woodbine, making all 11 of his starts either on turf or on the synthetic Tapeta Footings main track. Aside from a 12th-place showing in the 2018 Queen’s Plate, he’s never run a bad race, either, hitting the board in his other 10 career starts. Five of his six wins have come on Woodbine’s turf course, and jockey Gary Boulanger has been aboard for all of them. Silent Poet exits arguably the best race of his career, the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes on Aug. 24, winning the seven-furlong race by 1 ¾ lengths and decisively beating Woodbine Mile foes El Tormenta and Admiralty Pier. He’ll be facing much tougher competition Saturday against Got Stormy, Synchrony, and company, but this gritty gelding has the home-field advantage and will probably be joining American Guru and maybe Awesometank in the front rank of horses as the field heads into the sweeping left hand turn before hitting Woodbine’s long homestretch, where he’s proven time and time again to be a strong finisher. Along with the class jump, the one-mile distance looms as the biggest challenge to Silent Poet, as he’s run his best races at seven furlongs.


Michael Burns/Woodbine

4. Synchrony (6-1)

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Trainer: Michael Stidham

Owners: Pin Oak Stable

Career record: 23 starts – 9 wins – 4 seconds – 6 thirds

Career earnings: $893,251

Earnings per start: $38,837

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 114

Pedigree: Tapit – Brownie Points, by Forest Wildcat

Color: Chestnut

Age: 6

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The earnings leader among all horses entered in the Woodbine Mile, this ultra-consistent performer has picked up checks at a variety of tracks over the past five years, stepping up his game once switched to turf in early 2017. He’s posted triple-digit Equibase Speed Figures in all 16 starts since making that change, and hit the board 14 times. Overall, Synchrony profiles more as a Grade 3- or Grade 2-level athlete, winning six stakes races at those levels but finishing well back in two of his three Grade 1 stakes — he did check in third behind top-class Yoshida and Beach Patrol back in last year’s Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. But on the positive side, his debut effort at Woodbine in the June 29 Grade 2 King Edward Stakes — his most recent start — was one of the best races of his career, as he rallied through Woodbine’s imposing stretch to score by a length. He will be paired with rising-star jockey Flavien Prat for the first time on Saturday, and Prat’s patient riding style suits Synchrony perfectly as he’s a one-run closer. It will be interesting to see where Prat positions his mount early on, as opponents Got Stormy, Lucullan, and some of the locally-based horses all have more versatility than Synchrony and fellow deep closer Raging Bull. Overall, this 6-year-old is a must-use horse in all exotic bets, and with the right pace setup could secure an elusive Grade 1 win and a Breeders’ Cup berth in Saturday’s Woodbine Mile.


Eclipse Sportswire

5. Got Stormy (8-5)

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Trainer: Mark Casse

Owners: Gary Barber and Southern Equine Stable

Career record: 15 starts – 7 wins – 1 second – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $760,078

Earnings per start: $50,672

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 118

Pedigree: Get Stormy – Super Phoebe, by Malabar Gold

Color: Chestnut

Age: 4

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This filly has emerged as a budding star over the past few months, and if she wins the Woodbine Mile could become a finalist for champion turf female at the year-end Eclipse Awards. After assembling a solid career during 2017-18 that featured three stakes wins (including a Grade 3 on turf at Woodbine), Got Stormy moved up in class this spring and finished third and second in the Grade 1 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes and the Grade 2 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, respectively. She then shipped to Saratoga and romped in a listed stakes before her career-best race, which came on a quick turnaround and against males in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap on Aug. 10. Got Stormy patiently stalked the pace and powered through the stretch to a 2 ½-length win in the Fourstardave, setting the inner-turf course record for one mile with a time of 1:32. A repeat of that effort in Saturday’s race should put this talented filly in the winner’s circle, as only the great Wise Dan in 2013 has run faster in the history of the Woodbine Mile (1:31.75). Tyler Gaffalione has been aboard Got Stormy for nine of her 15 career starts and gets back on the filly for the Woodbine Mile. Mark Casse, currently the leading trainer at Woodbine’s meet by wins and earnings, has won the training title here 11 times. He also has two Woodbine Mile victories on his résumé, coming back to back in 2016 (Tepin) and 2017 (World Approval). Got Stormy’s co-owner Gary Barber co-owned 2006 Woodbine Mile victor Becrux.


Michael Burns/Woodbine

6. Awesometank (8-1)

Jockey: John Egan

Trainer: William Haggas

Owner: Lee Yuk Lun

Career record: 15 starts – 5 wins – 5 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $350,410

Earnings per start: $23,361

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 108

Pedigree: Intense Focus – Janey Muddles, by Lawman

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Awesometank finished a good second behind champion turf female Sistercharlie in her U.S. debut in the Aug. 10 Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington International Racecourse. She should appreciate the cut back in distance from the Beverly D.’s 1 3/16 miles around two turns to the one-turn Woodbine Mile. The 4-year-old English-bred filly had assembled a good career record in 14 European starts prior to shipping to North America, winning two listed stakes and finishing second three times in Group 3 stakes. While she stalked Sistercharlie’s “rabbit” stablemate Thais in the Beverly D., Awesometank set the pace in several of her races overseas and should be among the early Woodbine Mile leaders as well. Got Stormy, Raging Bull, and Synchrony are accomplished graded stakes winners, but Sistercharlie isn’t running on Saturday, and that fact makes this filly a leading win candidate in an ultra-competitive race.


Eclipse Sportswire

7. Raging Bull (3-1)

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Chad Brown

Owner: Peter Brant

Career record: 11 starts – 5 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $845,500

Earnings per start: $76,864

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 119

Pedigree: Dark Angel – Rosa Bonheur, by Mr. Greeley

Color: Bay

Age: 4

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: After posting a breakthrough Grade 1 win in the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar to close out his 3-year-old season last Dec. 1, Raging Bull has competed in four Grade 1 stakes this year without a win. They’ve all been decent showings, however, as he’s finished fourth, fourth, third, and most recently second at four different racetracks, unleashing his customary late rally each time. His runner-up effort came behind course-record-setter Got Stormy in the Fourstardave Handicap on Aug. 10 at Saratoga, where he closed six-wide to edge stablemate Uni for second by a head but was no threat to the winner. This French-bred colt is a must-use in exactas and trifectas, but he’s never raced on Woodbine’s turf course before, prefers two turns to one, and may not get the swift early pace he needs to set up his closing kick. On the other hand, jockey Joel Rosario, who has been aboard Raging Bull for all five of his career wins, gets back aboard Saturday after a two-race absence.


Michael Burns/Woodbine

8. American Guru (30-1)

Jockey: Rafael Hernandez

Trainer: Michael Doyle

Owner: Stronach Stables

Career record: 6 starts – 4 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $185,222

Earnings per start: $30,870

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 112

Pedigree: Unbridled’s Song – Camargue, by Mineshaft

Color: Bay

Age: 5

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: In a Woodbine Mile field without an abundance of speed, look for this son of the late, great sire Unbridled’s Song to be one of the early front-runners and to perhaps even lead the field through the backstretch. Through six career starts, he’s only finished off the board once, and that came in his first start on Woodbine’s unique turf course on July 21, when he checked in fifth in an allowance race won by Silent Poet (Admiralty Pier finished fifth). He came right back in his next start at Woodbine and posted a gate-to-wire win in a one-mile allowance race Aug. 11 and, if he can repeat that effort while managing a big class jump on Saturday, he stands a small chance at posting the upset at high odds. Rafael Hernandez, who ranks second in the Woodbine jockey standings by both wins and earnings as of Sept. 10, has been aboard American Guru for both of his starts at Woodbine and retains the mount in Saturday’s $1 million race.


Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo

9. Made You Look (12-1)

Jockey: Luis Contreras

Trainer: Chad Brown

Owner: Three Chimneys Farm

Career record: 14 starts – 4 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $440,797

Earnings per start: $31,486

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 118

Pedigree: More Than Ready – Night and Day, by Unbridled’s Song

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 5

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: A multiple graded stakes winner dating back to his 2- and 3-year-old seasons, Made You Look is a late entry to the Woodbine Mile field and an interesting longshot. He has not won since taking an allowance optional claiming race at Belmont Park in May 2018 and has only raced twice this year, finishing a good fourth in a Grade 3 stakes early in Saratoga’s meet (his first start in nearly a year) and then fifth in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap won by Got Stormy in course-record time. In the Fourstardave, Made You Look took a one-length lead entering the stretch and tired late, but was only about 1 ½ lengths behind runner-up Raging Bull. If he can move forward in his third start this year, he stands an outside chance of posting an upset, given his back class and his preference for the one-mile distance. He also has some experience racing on Woodbine’s course, finishing fourth in a stakes race here back in 2017. Luis Contreras currently ranks fourth in wins and third in earnings at Woodbine and has three prior riding titles at the track.


Michael Burns/Woodbine

10. Emmaus (20-1)

Jockey: Channing Hill

Trainer: Conor Murphy

Owners: M and J Thoroughbreds and Riverside Bloodstock

Career record: 11 starts – 3 wins – 3 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $166,490

Earnings per start: $15,135

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 109

Pedigree: Invincible Spirit – Prima Luce, by Galileo

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 5

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: A stakes winner in England in 2018, Emmaus has made three straight impressive starts since shipping to North America for the 2019 season without a win. He finished second by a neck in a stakes race at Belmont Park in April, and then second again by a neck in the Connaught Cup Stakes in June behind El Tormenta. In his most recent start, he churned on late to finish fourth in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes at Woodbine, beaten two lengths by Synchrony. He’ll need to improve in the Woodbine Mile against a tougher field than he’s faced so far on these shores in order to post an upset victory, but he is a logical horse to use in exactas, trifectas, and superfectas. Kentucky-based jockey Channing Hill travels north to ride Emmaus on Saturday.


Michael Burns/Woodbine

11. Admiralty Pier (30-1)

Jockey: Patrick Husbands

Trainer: Barbara Minshall

Owners: Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford

Career record: 13 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $157,331

Earnings per start: $12,102

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 111

Pedigree: English Channel – Full Steam Ahead, by Kitten’s Joy

Color: Chestnut

Age: 4

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This gelding figures to be one of the longer shots in Saturday’s Woodbine Mile, but is a useful horse for exotic bets such as the exacta and trifecta based on his prior form over Woodbine’s unique turf course. He broke his maiden in his career debut on this turf course back in August 2017 and has run well in three of his four subsequent starts on the surface, including a fourth-place finish in an allowance race and a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes this summer, both won by Woodbine Mile foe Silent Poet. He will be paired with six-time Woodbine leading jockey Patrick Husbands for the first time on Saturday, a big plus, and should sit a stalking trip somewhere in midpack through the backstretch and into Woodbine’s sweeping turn before rallying late. Husbands won the 2001 Woodbine Mile aboard Numerous Times.

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