08/31/2008 11:00PM

Ice Bear among Mile's locals


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Ice Bear, prepping for a probable appearance in Sunday's Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, breezed five furlongs in 1:03.60 over the E.P. Taylor turf course here Monday morning.

The going was firm as Ice Bear worked on the outer part of the course under jockey Chantal Sutherland.

"You couldn't tell much, going around the 'dogs,' " said Mac Benson, who trains Ice Bear for owner/breeder George Strawbridge Jr.

The field for the Woodbine Mile, a $1 million turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, is expected to include Kip Deville, last year's Breeders' Cup Mile winner, and Ventura, a filly who is a Grade 1 winner over a mile on grass.

With those two more than capable of dominating the proceedings, the Woodbine Mile field could be rounded out by just a quintet of locals looking either to get very lucky or at least pick up some of the minor awards.

Ice Bear, winner of the off-the-turf With Approval, a 1 1/8-mile race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and upward in his last start here Aug. 10, is in that category.

The Woodbine Mile's $110,000 third prize would be as good as a stakes win in monetary terms.

Fourth money of $60,000 would be a worthwhile acquisition, and fifth money of $30,000 would return a neat profit on the $10,000 entry fee.

"If it looks like we can get a piece of it, then we should be in there," said Benson, who also sent out Ice Bear to finish second at 1 1/8 miles on turf in the Grade 2 King Edward earlier this summer.

The other locally based horses looking to test the Woodbine Mile waters are Just Rushing and Wollemi Pine, the one-two finishers in the Grade 1 Play the King at seven furlongs on turf here Aug. 23; Mulmur, a closing fourth in the Play the King; and Rahy's Attorney, winner of the Grade 3 Connaught Cup at 1 1/16 miles on turf here this spring.

Ian Black trains both Wollemi Pine and Rahy's Attorney, who worked four furlongs in 50.80 seconds under regular rider Slade Callaghan on the main turf course here Sunday.

"I just let him breeze a little bit, around the dogs," said Black. "I wasn't looking for anything fancy, just to keep him happy."

Sunday's card also will include the Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile 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.