09/07/2007 12:00AM

Plenty of shippers for Woodbine Mile


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - If the prospective field holds together, this year's running of the Woodbine Mile will be one of the most intriguing ever.

As of Friday, Woodbine stakes manager Julie Bell was expecting no fewer than seven contestants from the United States for the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile, a turf race for 3-year-olds and upward on Sept. 16.

Becrux, winner of last year's Woodbine Mile for trainer Neil Drysdale, is the only invader currently on the grounds, but the others should begin arriving in midweek.

This will be the 10th time Drysdale has entered a horse in the Mile. He also won with Touch of the Blues in 2003 and with Labeeb in 1998.

The remaining prospective shippers include Grade 1 winners Shakespeare, Kip Deville, and Host; Grade 2 winner Remarkable News; Grade 3 winner Art Master; and the improving Galantas.

Art Master will be the fifth starter in three Woodbine Miles for trainer Bobby Frankel, who won with Leroidesanimaux in 2005 and with Riviera in 2000.

The local contingent eyeing the Woodbine Mile includes Le Cinquieme Essai, Awesome Action, Estevan, and Storm Caller.

Le Cinquieme Essai defeated Becrux in the Grade 2 Play the King over seven furlongs on turf here in August 2006, but missed the Woodbine Mile due to injury.

Trainer Paul Nielsen sent out Le Cinquieme Essai to win this year's Play the King in his second start on the comeback trail.

Sky Conqueror, who also is nominated to the Grade 2, $300,000 Sky Classic over 1 3/8 miles on turf here Sept. 23, is on the fence for the Woodbine Mile.

The draw for the Woodbine Mile will take place at noon Thursday in the trackside tent. Jerry Bailey, who will be making a variety of local appearances during Woodbine Mile week, will be the ceremonial drawmaster.

All entrants for the Woodbine Mile must be on the grounds by 11 a.m. Friday under the terms of Woodbine's big-race surveillance program.

Blood tests will be taken at 12 p.m., and the horses will be subject to random spot checks until 7:30 a.m. Sunday, when full surveillance will commence.

Mile undercard attracts invaders

Next Sunday's card also will include a pair of Grade 2 turf stakes, the 1 1/8-mile Canadian for fillies and mares and the one-mile Summer for 2-year-olds.

Both races also are expected to attract shippers, but not to the degree of the Woodbine Mile.

Roshani and Meribel, both Grade 3 stakes winners, and May Night, who has finished second in two Grade 2 stakes at Woodbine this year, are expected to travel here for the Canadian.

Roshani is trained by Todd Pletcher, who won last year's Canadian with Ready's Gal.

Meribel is trained by Christophe Clement, who captured the 2002 Canadian with Calista.

The local contingent should include Arravale, Sealy Hill, Elle Runaway, Essential Edge, Nottawasaga, Wedded Woman, and Like a Gem.

Arravale, who finished second in the Canadian last year and then won the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes en route to Canadian Horse of the Year and champion turf female titles, has disappointed in two starts this season. She is trained by Mac Benson.

Sealy Hill, a talented 3-year-old filly trained by Mark Casse, is slated to face older rivals for the first time in the Canadian.

Prussian, an impressive maiden winner over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Saratoga in his debut, is slated for the Summer.

His trainer, Bill Mott, the leading trainer at the recently concluded Saratoga meeting, is winless in five Summer attempts but has sent out second-place finishers Marcavelly (2006), Miesque's Approval (2001), and King Cugat (1999).

Leading local contenders for the Summer include Briarwood Circle and Fatal Bullet, the one-two finishers in the off-the-turf prep for the Summer over seven furlongs.

Briarwood Circle is trained by Casse, who also plans to send out the maiden Brickyard Crossing for the Summer.

Pair of stakes top Saturday card

Saturday's card will feature a stakes doubleheader comprising the $125,000 La Prevoyante, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, and the $125,000 Swynford, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

You Will Love Me, already a winner of three Ontario-sired stakes for owner-breeder Bill Jones and trainer Earl Barnett, is looming as the horse to beat in the La Prevoyante.

Bear Holiday, a Kentucky-bred owned by Bear Stable and trained by Reade Baker, will seek his third consecutive stakes win in the Swynford.

His opponents should include Turf War, who was an impressive maiden winner in his second start.

Racing Club meeting scheduled

The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will hold its monthly meeting here at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the third-floor Champions lounge.

Jennifer Morrison, Woodbine's morning-line oddsmaker and a freelance correspondent for Daily Racing Form, will be the special guest and will discuss the Woodbine Mile.

New members and guests are welcome.