09/20/2010 1:13PM

Court Vision answered all the questions

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Michael Burns
Robby Albarado celebrates aboard Court Vision after their Woodbine Mile victory.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – There were questions surrounding Court Vision, who was making his first trip north of the border for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. in last Sunday’s Woodbine Mile.

“The one-turn mile here had us thinking maybe he should go to Keeneland for his next race,” said Dutrow.

There were also questions surrounding his rider, Robby Albarado, who had suffered a separated collarbone in a spill at Saratoga on Aug. 11 and had returned to ride just one race on Saturday at Turfway Park.

It turned out that Court Vision and Albarado had all the answers, however, after a strong rally through the final furlong yielded a 11 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1, $1 million headliner.

Court Vision, owned by IEAH Stable and Resolute Group Stable, was making his first start since finishing second in Belmont’s Grade 1 Manhattan over 1 1/4 miles on turf on June 5.

“I was pretty confident he was going to run a big race,” said Dutrow. “He was training really good, and he comes off a freshening really good.

“So, we felt confident he was going to show up. We thought if he can take to this course and the one-turn mile, we’re going to be in good shape.

“And, that’s exactly what happened. He loved this grass course. Robby gave him an unbelievable ride, too.

Albarado, who was winning the Woodbine Mile after finishing no better than seventh in his three previous attempts, deflected credit to Court Vision and back to Dutrow.

“The horse runs over a lot of different surfaces, and he’s professional about them all,” said Albarado.

“You give him a good trip, he’s going to come home and he did. Dutrow did a great job of getting him ready.”

The win also was the first in the Woodbine Mile for Dutrow, who had finished second with both the late Kip Deville in 2007 and Rebel Rebel in 2006.

Both Dutrow and Michael Iavarone, a spokesman for IEAH Stable, cited the cooler weather as the key to Court Vision’s success.

The colt also had enjoyed a three-month break last year before returning to capture Keeneland’s Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile.

“He doesn’t run good in hot weather,” said Dutrow. “That’s why we decided to back off again, after the Manhattan.

“We vanned him to Saratoga – it’s a little bit cooler up there – and trained him for a couple of months.

“We took him to Saratoga for two months; it’s a little cooler up there. He trained well.”

“Albarado breezed him at Saratoga. Anybody can breeze him—he’s just a racehorse.”

Iavarone concurred with most of Dutrow’s statements.

“He came here a bit of an unknown,” said Iavarone. “It had actually been a year since he won a race. In the summer he seems to go away on us, but he comes back in the fall.

Dutrow, said Iavarone, “got this horse ready to fire. It’s probably the best race he’s ever run in his life.”

Court Vision, who entered the Woodbine Mile as the top money-winner in the field of 13, added $600,000 to his bankroll to bring his career earnings past the $2.5 million mark.

The Woodbine Mile was a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race, and Dutrow plans to be at Churchill Downs with Court Vision on Nov. 6 but not much sooner.

“I’ll keep him at Aqueduct, and it will be a last-minute kind of thing,” said Dutrow.

Court Vision would be making his second straight appearance in the Breeders’ Mile after finishing fourth, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths, at Santa Anita last year.

Redwood headed back home, may return

Redwood, who is based in England with trainer Barry Hills, checked into Woodbine last Tuesday and will head home this week with his first Grade 1 win after capturing Sunday’s Northern Dancer.

Ridden by Barry Hills and saddled by his brother, assistant trainer Charlie Hills, Redwood snuck up the rail to score by a half-length and collect a prize of $450,000.

“I thought he had the form to win the race,” said Hills, the rider, noting that Redwood had not particularly enjoyed the soft ground when second last time out in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville and was much more comfortable on Sunday’s firm surface.

“During the race he felt good, and when I asked him to he quickened.”

Charlie Hills had arrived with his brother on race day and was heading back home on Sunday evening.

“He’s an improving horse,” said the assistant trainer.

Redwood, a homebred 4-year-old colt, races for the Juddmonte Farm of Prince Khalid Abdullah

All being well, Redwood could return for the Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International at the same 1 1/2-mile turf distance here Oct. 16.

“We’ll see how he works back, and how he holds his weight,” said Garrett O’Rourke, who is Juddmonte’s farm manager in Kentucky.

Record handle for day

The other big winner on the day was the Woodbine Entertainment Group as the handle on the 11-card was $5,619,908, eclipsing the former Woodbine Mile Day record of $5,214,431 set in 2002.

The figure also represented an increase of almost 12 percent over last year’s $5,027,002.

The handle on the Woodbine Mile itself increased to $1,411,168, a 14 percent increase over last year’s $1,208,562.

Jones to sit three days

Jockey Jono Jones will be serving a three-day suspension, Wednesday through Friday, after the stewards ruled he had come out with his mount Gas N Dash and interfered with Nerone in the stretch run of last Friday’s eighth race.

Gas N Dash was disqualified from second and placed third.