09/11/2015 10:41AM

Grand Arch peaking for Woodbine Mile

Barbara D. Livingston
Grand Arch (right) wins the Grade 2 Fourstardave at Saratoga last month.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The recent retirement of two-time Woodbine Mile winner Wise Dan has left Sunday’s edition of the $1 million event wide open. A sharp Grand Arch could make the most of Wise Dan’s absence in the Grade 1 stakes, which is an important Breeders’ Cup Mile prep.

Grand Arch came from third under Luis Saez to win his most recent race in the Grade 2 Fourstardave over Ironicus, who subsequently won another Saratoga stakes, the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch.

“Luis gave him a great ride,” trainer Brian Lynch said. “He got to tuck in behind the pace. It wasn’t a cracker pace early, but they certainly came home hard. He got the first jump on [King Kreesa], who was able to get away on the lead in his last few. Grand Arch never let him get too far away, and when the pressure was turned up, he was able to get to him.”

Lynch said Grand Arch has held his form since the Fourstardave.

“I think he goes into it great,” Lynch said. “I wouldn’t change spots with anybody. There’s no doubt the Fourstardave has been a key race, with the way Ironicus came back and won last weekend, and we’ve got an extra week on that.”

The 19th running of the Woodbine Mile heads a 12-race card that includes another Breeders’ Cup Win and Your In event, the Grade 2 Canadian for fillies and mares, which gives its winner a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. The Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf and the Grade 3 Bold Venture are the other supporting stakes.

The Woodbine Mile will be broadcast on TSN2 in Canada from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Eastern and will be shown in the United States on Fox Sports 1 as part of the “Jockey Club Racing Tour.” Post time for the race is 5:43.

Woodbine Mile, Race 10


Grand Arch (Last 3 Beyers: 102-98-94)

◗ The handsome 6-year-old was fifth, beaten three lengths, over “good” ground in last year’s Woodbine Mile.

“The turf was a little soft last year, and he never got to run his race,” Lynch said. “We changed it around a little this year and got him up [to Woodbine] straight after the Fourstardave so that he had time to settle in.”

Lea (Last 3 Beyers: 94-108-110)

◗ A Grade 1 winner on dirt, he placed in two turf stakes behind Wise Dan in 2013. The 6-year-old is exiting a subpar performance in the Grade 1 Whitney, and trainer Bill Mott has since worked him twice on grass at Saratoga.

“We were pleased enough with the way he worked on it that we thought he deserved another chance,” Mott said. “Off his last race, it’d be hard for me to think about the [Breeders’ Cup Classic].”

◗ Mott captured the inaugural Woodbine Mile in 1997 with Geri.

Obviously (Last 3 Beyers: 104-92-107)

◗ The speedy California shipper is a multiple Grade 1 winner and earner of $1.4 million. The 7-year-old has been idle since fading to fifth after setting a brisk pace in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

“He runs great fresh,” trainer Phil D’Amato said. “If he wasn’t training as well as he ever has, if not better, I wouldn’t even consider this off the bench.”

◗ Only two front-runners have won the Woodbine Mile – Leroidesanimaux and Soaring Free.

:: Woodbine Mile: Get PPs, watch Sunday’s card live

Mr. Owen (North American debut)

◗ The improving 3-year-old finished third in a French classic this year for Qatar Racing, which won last year’s Woodbine Mile with Trade Storm. He won his last outing in a stakes at Deauville after breaking from post 12.

“He had the worst draw, so we decided to wait and come from behind,” said trainer Francois Rohaut. “It was the first time we tried that, and he showed an amazing turn of foot to come from last to first.”

Mondialiste (North American debut)

◗ This son of Galileo has had a productive year in England, where he captured a recent Group 3 stakes at York. He is adding Lasix.

Reporting Star (Last 3 Beyers: 98-91-93)

◗ He rallied strongly along the rail to eke out a victory in the local prep for the Woodbine Mile, the Grade 2 Play the King.

Tower of Texas (Last 3 Beyers: 98-94-98)

◗ He has reached full bloom in this, his first campaign as a gelding. After capping a three-race winning streak in the Grade 2 King Edward, he finished second in an allowance before a narrow loss in the seven-furlong Play the King.

“I think he’s coming up to it great,” said trainer Roger Attfield.

Kaigun (Last 3 Beyers: 87-92-90)

◗ Trainer Mark Casse has been playing catch-up this year with the 2014 Woodbine Mile runner-up, who rallied belatedly in the Play the King.