09/06/2008 11:00PM

Kip Deville favored in Woodbine Mile

Michael Burns
Kip Deville returns to Woodbine as a heavy favorite for Sunday's Grade 1 Mile. Last year, he finished second in the Woodbine Mile before winning the Breeders' Cup Mile at Monmouth Park in his next start.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Kip Deville, the 2007 Breeders' Cup Mile winner, will be a prohibitive favorite in the 12th running of the $1 million Woodbine Mile on Sunday.

The Grade 1 turf event is a Breeders' Cup Win and You're In race, with the winner receiving a guaranteed berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25. The Woodbine Mile heads a blockbuster 11-race card, which includes two other lucrative turf stakes with top-notch fields, the Grade 1 Northern Dancer BC Turf, and the Grade 2 Canadian for fillies and mares.

Kip Deville ran a huge race in last year's Woodbine Mile. After a perfect stalking trip, he hit the front nearing the eighth pole and seemed on course for victory. But Shakespeare came from out of nowhere along the rail and caught him in the final strides.

Kip Deville went on to take the BC Mile in a bog at Monmouth Park. Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. began to point him toward this year's Mile after the 5-year-old won his season opener in the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile in April at Keeneland.

Dutrow has intentionally limited Kip Deville's 2008 campaign in hopes of having him at his best in the fall. Kip Deville has made only one start since the Maker's Mark, a front-running score in the slow-paced Poker Handicap on July 13 at Belmont Park. He earned a career-high 109 Beyer Speed Figure in that Grade 3 stakes.

Dutrow said he is looking forward to seeing Kip Deville back in action.

"I'm so happy with the way he is right now, it couldn't be better," said Dutrow. "I'm not sure that he'll have to peak for this race, but if he has to, he'll be up to it. If we can get away with a basic race, that will be all the better."

Ventura, trained by Bobby Frankel, will try to become the first filly or mare to capture the Mile.

Ventura beat the boys in a listed stakes on Polytrack last November in England before shipping across the pond.

Ventura has won 3 of 5 starts in North America, including the Grade 1 Just a Game at Belmont, and is coming off a narrow loss in the Grade 2 CashCall Mile at Hollywood. She was rank in the early stages of both those races before settling and then making her move.

In response to why he has chosen this race for Ventura, Frankel said: "Where else can I run? The Noble Damsel for $100,000, where she'll have to pack the weight? Might as well go for the million bucks, right? A one-turn mile is perfect for her. Winning a Grade 3 isn't going to help her cause. She wins [this] race, she could be up for an Eclipse Award."

Two of the last four winners of the Mile exited the local prep for the race, the Play the King. That Grade 2 stakes has yielded three starters this year - Just Rushing, Wollemi Pine, and Mulmur.

Just Rushing won the seven-furlong Play the King after pressing the pace on the outside.

Trainer Sid Attard, who won the 2001 Mile with Numerous Times, is apprehensive about running Just Rushing back in just 15 days.

"He's a little quiet," said Attard. "He needs more time, but [the owners] want to run. He was so sharp before the Play the King. He was on top of his game."

Wollemi Pine rallied from midpack to finish second in the Play the King, after he defeated Just Rushing by a nose in the allowance prep for that race.

"I would like to think that a mile suits him," said trainer Ian Black.

Restricted stakes winner Mulmur was fourth in the Play the King under Eurico Rosa Da Silva.

"Our post position didn't help us," said Da Silva. "We were outside of everybody. I took him back and tried to save some ground. When I had the chance to [rally] with him, it was too late, and the track was very fast that day. Now, we're hoping for a better trip."

Ice Bear was second to European invader Royal Oath in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes in May. He beat Marchfield in his last start on the Polytrack in the restricted With Approval Stakes.

Rahy's Attorney, also trained by Black, will be shortening up to a distance over which he is unbeaten, off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes.

- additional reporting by David Grening