10/18/2010 4:29PM

Joshua Tree tops Euro domination

Michael Burns
Joshua Tree wins the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine. But he'll have his hands full with Nakayama Festa and Buena Vista in the Japan Cup.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Those who revel in the success of our European visitors had plenty to celebrate following the three Grade 1 turf stakes here last Saturday.

The Canadian International, E.P. Taylor, and Nearctic attracted a total of 31 horses with no less than 15 hailing from across the pond.

The final toll was three wins, a second, and two thirds for the Europeans, with the home team accounting for the other three top-three finishes in Woodbine’s final Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In races of the season.

Joshua Tree led the European charge in the $2,013,600 Canadian International, outfinishing Mores Wells by a head, with Redwood another nose back in third.

Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Atty had bought into Joshua Tree prior to the Canadian International, and the 3-year-old colt, who is based in Ireland with trainer Aidan O’Brien, ran here in his name along with those of owners Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, and Susan Magnier.

Following the Canadian International, Al Atty became the sole owner of Joshua Tree, but the horse will remain in training with O’Brien.

Bloodstock agents Tom and Bernadette Ryan, who brokered the sale, were on hand for the Canadian International.

“Aidan O’Brien wanted to send him over for the race,” Tom Ryan said. “He thought a lot of this horse and knew this would suit him, that this would be the kind of track for him.”

Joshua Tree, the only 3-year-old in the Canadian International lineup, was ridden to victory by Colm O’Donoghue, who was racing in Canada for the first time and was recording his biggest career victory. O’Brien won the Canadian International for the second time after clicking with Ballingarry in 2002.

“He’s a progressive horse and a lightly raced horse,” said O’Donoghue, who was aboard the Irish-bred colt when he won the Group 2 Royal Lodge over one mile at Ascot last September.

Joshua Tree was making only his third start of this season and was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Group 1 St. Leger over about 1 3/4 miles at Doncaster on Sept. 11.

“He’s a late-maturing horse, with a strong pedigree,” O’Donoghue said. “He should get better as he gets older.”

Joshua Tree, who was scheduled to return to Ireland on Tuesday, is not Breeders’ Cup eligible but has not been ruled out for the Breeders’ Cup Turf, with a trip to Hong Kong being another option.

Mores Wells and Redwood also were scheduled to head to their respective homes on Tuesday along with Chinchon, who finished sixth in the International.

Reggane heading home after Taylor win

Reggane, who along with Shalanaya and Akarlina formed the French contingent in the E.P. Taylor, was the least fancied of the trio but was a going-away winner at 10-1.

Shalanaya, winner of the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp last year, finished third, while Akarlina ended sixth in the field of 10.

Christophe Soumillon was riding Reggane for the first time and was making his Canadian debut aboard the 4-year-old filly trained by Alain De Royer-Dupre, who also won the 1987 E.P. Taylor with Khariyda.

Reggane, who got her first Grade 1 victory in the E.P. Taylor, is not Breeders’ Cup eligible and was scheduled to head home Tuesday along with six of the other seven members of the European contingent.

The exception is Pachattack, who was beaten 3 3/4 lengths as the fifth-place finisher under local rider Chantal Sutherland.

Pachattack, trained in England by Gerard Butler, will remain at Woodbine with an eye toward the $175,000 Maple Leaf, a 1 1/4-mile Polytrack race for fillies and mares Nov. 6.

Bred in Kentucky, the 4-year-old Pachattack has raced three times on Polytrack in England and has second-, third-, and fourth-place finishes to show for those efforts.

Lahalaleeb, who became a Grade 1 winner at odds of 44-1 in last year’s Taylor, returned for new interests after being sold this year but ended eighth, beaten 5 1/4 lengths, in what was scheduled to be her last appearance before heading to the breeding shed.

Serious Attitude scheduled for F-T sale

Serious Attitude didn’t attract much attention heading into the $508,800 Nearctic but was front and center after rallying from 11th place in the field of 12 to score by 2 1/2 lengths, becoming the first filly to win the stakes over its current distance and surface.

Trained in England by Rae Guest, the 4-year-old Serious Attitude had one second-place listed stakes finish to show for her first five starts of the season and is cataloged for next month’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale.

“That’s always been the plan, and I doubt we’d change our minds,” said Guest, noting that Serious Attitude is not Breeders’ Cup eligible and is unlikely to avail herself of the guaranteed berth for the five-furlong Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.

Guest also expressed no great surprise at the success of Serious Attitude, who attracted the services of top American rider Garrett Gomez.

“We’ve been struggling all year to get everything right,” said Guest, who was starting his first horse in Canada. “We came here very hopeful.

“This is her trip, six furlongs on grass. The only ones we were really worried about were the English and French horses, really.”

Those particular concerns were unfounded as Amico Fritz, the French representative, finished 10th, and England’s Balthazaar’s Gift ran last.

Marsh Side retired to breeding shed

Marsh Side, who finished eighth while making his fourth appearance in the Canadian International, will be moving on to a new career at stud.

“I thought he looked pretty good on the backstretch, but he just didn’t go on with it,” said Patrick Lawley-Wakelin, racing manager for Marsh Side’s owner, Robert S. Evans.

“So, I think we’ll call it a day. He has given us a tremendous amount of fun and enjoyment. We had an absolutely fabulous time with him.

“We’ll finalize stud plans and go from there.”

A Kentucky-bred 7-year-old who began his career with former trainer Michael Dickinson, Marsh Side moved to Neil Drysdale’s barn in 2008.

Marsh Side won just three races in 18 starts for Drysdale, but those successes came here in the 2008 Canadian International, last year’s Grade 1 Northern Dancer, and this year’s Grade 2 Sky Classic.

He retires with a record of 7 wins, 3 seconds, and a third from 31 starts for earnings of $2,360,853. Of that total, $1,975,098 was banked at Woodbine.

◗ Business was up for Canadian International Day as a total of $6,322,838 was wagered on the 11-race card, a 9 percent increase over the $5,802,574 bet last year. Wagering on the Canadian International itself was $1,439,713, a 37 percent increase from the $1,052,727 last year.

Saturday’s $100,000-guaranteed Win 4 generated a net pool of $216,959, and the $1 payoff was $11,099.55.