09/29/2008 11:00PM

Locals get their shot at BC


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Breeders' Cup Win and You're In program was the catalyst for moving the Canadian International and E.P. Taylor to an earlier date this season.

On Saturday, the effectiveness of that move will become clear when Woodbine offers the Canadian International and the E.P. Taylor, as well as the Nearctic and Summer, on a high-powered card that will earn the winners of all four turf stakes berths in their corresponding Breeders' Cup events at Santa Anita on Oct. 24 and Oct. 25.

"We'd been up against the Breeders' Cup," said Steve Lym, Woodbine's racing secretary and a director of racing, noting that the Canadian International and E.P. Taylor had been run in the week preceding the Breeders' Cup since 2003.

"We felt it was time to go back into the fold and have the International and E.P. Taylor be part of the Breeders' Cup program," added Lym, who also is a member of the Breeders' Cup selection committee.

The question, however, is whether the Win and You're In clause actually will come into play for the 1 1/2-mile Canadian International and 1 1/4-mile E.P. Taylor, which earn the winner a spot in the Breeders' Cup Turf (International) or Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (E.P. Taylor).

The fact that the races are just three weeks out from the Breeders' Cup could be a major stumbling block.

Horses such as leading Canadian International candidates Doctor Dino and Quijano, both Group 1 winners and experienced world travelers, already are looking beyond the Breeders' Cup. Both horses will be nominated to the Group 1, $1.8 million Hong Kong Vase, a 1 1/2-mile turf race in which they ran one-two last year. They are likely to return to that venue.

"I think that Hong Kong is the more probable option," said Doctor Dino's trainer, Richard Gibson.

Then, there is the question of Breeders' Cup eligibility.

Four of the five European invaders for the Canadian International - Doctor Dino, Quijano, Mourilyan, and Lauro - are not Breeders' Cup nominated.

J'ray, Folk Opera, and Toque de Queda, who will be the top three choices for the E.P. Taylor - also are not paid up to the Breeders' Cup program.

Nor are Heros Reward and Hellvelyn, who are shipping in from south of the border for the Nearctic, a Grade 2, $500,000 race over six furlongs.

If any one of these horses were to win their way into the Breeders' Cup on Saturday, their connections could balk at anteing up hefty supplementary fees.

Such was the case for Rahy's Attorney, who became the first-ever Win and You're In qualifier here when capturing the Woodbine Mile. Not nominated to the Breeders' Cup program, he will instead run in Saturday's Grade 1 Shadwell Mile at Keeneland.

Still, the Win and You're In factor could well come into play with Woodbine-based runners in Saturday's stakes.

Even though Breeders' Cup funds are allocated to several stakes here, graded races run in Canada do not grant Breeders' Cup points, which are a determining factor in who gets into Breeders' Cup championship races. For horses who have stuck mostly or solely to their home base here, the Win and You're In races could be their only shots at making one of the Breeders' Cup lineups.

"I think if you have a horse that's on the bubble, it benefits us much more," Lym said. "It's a great opportunity to get into the Breeders' Cup."

Marlang, Seaside Retreat, and Spice Route form the home team for the Canadian International.

Marlang earned 4 Breeders' Cup points for his last-out victory in Saratoga's Grade 3 Saranac but is well down the leaderboard.

Seaside Retreat, a close third behind Canadian International returnees Champs Elysees and Quijano in the Northern Dancer, has no Breeders' Cup points.

Spice Route, beaten a length as the Northern Dancer's fifth-place finisher, also doesn't have any points and is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup program.

Neither Callwood Dancer nor Sealy Hill, the top local candidates for the E.P. Taylor after finishing second and fourth, respectively, behind J'ray here in last month's Canadian over 1 1/8 miles of turf, have any Breeders' Cup points.

Just Rushing, Mulmur, Starticus, Storm Treasure, and The Great Caruso, who are the Nearctic candidates based at Woodbine, would need a win here Saturday or the approval of the Breeders' Cup selection committee to make the field for the first Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.

Starticus has already competed in a Win and You're In race, finishing second behind the streaking Mr. Nightlinger in the 5 1/2-furlong Arlington Sprint Handicap last time out.

The one-mile Summer is the Saturday stakes most likely to yield a Breeders' Cup candidate for the home front, with an appearance in the Juvenile Turf awaiting the winner.

The Grade 3, $300,000 Summer is shaping up with a short field that could be dominated by a talented trio of Woodbine-based horses in Utterly Cool, Grand Adventure, and Skipadate.

Utterly Cool is undefeated and has been virtually untested here in two turf starts, including the Summer prep, while Grand Adventure was a sharp winner of his only try, which came over seven furlongs of grass.

Skipadate began his career at Saratoga, where he won over 1 1/16 miles of turf and finished second in an overnight stakes at the same distance.