Canadian Horse of the Year Starship Jubilee extended her legend Sept. 19 and beat the boys in the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile at Woodbine, punching her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The 7-year-old daughter of Indy Wind was the oldest horse and only female in a field of eight for the Woodbine Mile, with 2019 Preakness Stakes winner War of Will sent off as the 2.10-1 favorite, but she defied her odds of 5.75-1 and galloped home to a one-length score.
The Kevin Attard trainee held off the game rally of multiple graded stakes winner March to the Arch to secure her second Grade 1 win. Her first also came at Woodbine in the 2019 E. P. Taylor Stakes.
“Just an unbelievable feeling,” said an emotional Attard, who claimed Starship Jubilee for $16,000 in 2017 with his father, Tino Attard. “This mare doesn’t get the respect she deserves. She’s a winner of 19 races out of 38 starts. I was really disappointed to see her at [almost] 6-1 on the board … just kind of forgotten about. Time after time, she comes up and proves that she’s a top horse in North America.”
Starship Jubilee rebounded from a fourth in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes Aug. 23 at Saratoga Race Course, her only loss in six starts in an otherwise perfect 2020.
With Justin Stein in the irons Saturday, Starship Jubilee raced in fourth as Admiralty Pier and Value Proposition led the way through an opening quarter-mile in :23.66. The pacesetters continued through a half in :46.14 as Stein maintained a patient hand on Starship Jubilee, who was flanked by War of Will. As the field turned for home through three-quarters in 1:09.12, Stein was able to find a seam and gave Starship Jubilee the signal to go, and the plucky bay mare took over with a powerful surge.
“Sitting inside the three-eighths pole, around the five-sixteenths pole I had tons [of horse], and I waited for a chance to tip her out and ask her to run,” Stein said. “She’s so honest and wants to win more than anybody else out there. I watched her replays ... she’s just gritty. She just waited for her cue and took off like a scalded cat. She was gone.”
War of Will was three-quarters of a length back in third.
The final time for the mile was 1:32.06 on a turf course rated firm. Starship Jubilee paid $13.50 on a $2 win ticket. She became the third female to win the Mile, joining Tepin (2016) and Ventura (2009).
Bred in Florida by William Sorren, Starship Jubilee is out of the unraced Forest Wildcat broodmare Perfectly Wild, whose dam was four-time graded stakes winner Perfect Arc. She improved her record to 19 wins, five seconds, and three thirds from 38 starts, with earnings of $2,093,069.
Starship Jubilee was entered in the 2018 November breeding stock sale at Keeneland, but failed to meet her $425,000 reserve and was subsequently sold privately by the Attards to Bonnie Baskin’s Blue Heaven Farm.
Now she’s likely headed for a shot at Breeders’ Cup glory. The Woodbine Mile victory gave her a fees-paid berth in the Nov. 7 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF at Keeneland.
“I’m just going to enjoy the moment right now, but it’s obviously a special feeling to know that this race has produced so many horses that have gone on to win the Breeders’ Cup,” Attard said. “So, I’m really ecstatic right now, and that’s somewhere we’ve been aiming to go to all year long. This is just one step closer.”