09/13/2010 12:42PM

Californians storming border for Woodbine Mile

The Usual Q.T. wins the Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Usual Q. T., who was slated to arrive from California on Tuesday, heads a strong contingent of prospective California shippers for this year’s Woodbine Mile.

The field for Sunday’s Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile was firming up as of Monday morning, with 13 candidates having an eye on the turf prize for 3-year-olds and upwards.

The Usual Q.T. put together a six-race win streak on California’s turf courses last year and has captured an open allowance and the 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read on the grass this season.

Regular rider Victor Espinoza has the call as The Usual Q.T. gets back to his usual game here after finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic on Del Mar’s Polytrack surface.

Scheduled to accompany The Usual Q.T. on his trip east were Victor’s Cry and Crowded House.

Riviera Cocktail, a restricted stakes winner who is based in California with trainer Neil Drysdale, checked in last Friday and is here with groom Enrique Jiminez.

Victor’s Cry, trained by Eoin Harty, is coming off a second-place finish in the Eddie Read after taking the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on the Hollywood turf course almost two months earlier.

Victor’s Cry worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds at Hollywood Park on Tuesday.

Crowded House, who would have to be supplemented to the Woodbine Mile at a cost of $20,000, was fourth in the Eddie Read and then second behind Richard’s Kid in the Pacific Classic for trainer Ben Cecil.

Famous Name, a multiple Group 3 stakes winner in Europe, was expected to arrive at Woodbine on Tuesday evening.

East Coast shippers Court Vision, Straight Story, and Zifzaf are due in later in the week.

Court Vision would be making his first appearance since finishing sixth in Belmont’s Manhattan on June 5, Zifzaf ran third last time out in the Grade 2 Fourstardave at Saratoga, and Straight Story defeated fellow New York-breds in his last start, the West Point at Saratoga.

Court Vision breezed six furlongs in 1:18 on Saratoga’s turf training course on Monday.

Locals work Sunday on main track

With turf training called off following overnight rainfall, three local candidates for the Woodbine Mile breezed on the main track here Sunday.

Grand Adventure, trained by Mark Frostad, was clocked in 59.60 seconds and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.20 under exercise rider Billy O’Connor.

Smokey Fire was timed in 1:12 for six furlongs under exercise rider Andy Sykes, while his Sid Attard-trained stablemate, Signature Red, went six furlongs in 1:15.60

Grand Adventure has won the Grade 2 Connaught Cup at seven furlongs and the Grade 2 King Edward at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course here this year, while Smokey Fire is coming off a victory in the Grade 2 Play the King.

Signature Red finished fifth in the Play the King after winning the Grade 2 Highlander at six furlongs.

Woodbourne and Auteur round out the Woodbine contingent.

◗ Sunday’s card also will include the Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer, a Grade 1 turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, and the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian, a 1 1/8 mile turf race for fillies and mares.