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Woodbine: Europeans expected to send more than a dozen horses for major turf stakes
By Bill Tallon
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Last year, a total of 20 European horses competed at Woodbine in the three Grade 1 turf stakes on Canadian International Day.
This year, European representation could run up to as many as 16 horses among the Canadian International, E.P. Taylor, and Nearctic Stakes.
The German import Scalo, eyeing the Canadian International, and Kapitale, an E.P. Taylor candidate, already are on the grounds along with England’s E.P. Taylor-bound Barefoot Lady.
And incoming flights from England, France, and Ireland should deliver another 13 horses for those two races plus the Nearctic in the days ahead.
The most accomplished of the incoming group is Joshua Tree, a winner of more than $2.2 million who should be making his third consecutive appearance in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Canadian International over 1 1/2 miles of turf.
Winner of the 2010 Canadian International when trained by Aidan O’Brien, the 5-year-old Joshua Tree was sold privately that winter and was the runner-up here last year for conditioner Marco Botti.
Joshua Tree was a Group 2 winner in France this August.
Imperial Monarch, a 3-year-old colt who was bred in Ireland and is trained there by Aidan O’Brien, won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp this summer.
Reliable Man, conditioned in France by Alain de Royer-Dupre, won last year’s Group 1 Prix de Jockey Club at Longchamp and was a close fourth in this summer’s Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot.
Wigmore Hall, winner of the last two runnings of Woodbine’s Grade 1, 1 1/2 mile Northern Dancer, is slated to make another trip across the pond for England-based trainer Michael Bell.
Dandino, trained in England by James Fanshawe, is a Group 2 winner on turf and a Group 3 winner on Polytrack.
Lay Time, a 4-year-old filly who is a Group 3 winner from the English yard of Andrew Balding, is under consideration for the Canadian International but could opt for the E.P. Taylor.
Siyouma, a 4-year-old who is based in France with trainer Francois Doumen and won the Group 1 Sun Chariot at Newmarket last weekend, will attract plenty of attention in the $1 million E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares.
Leupartie, a 3-year-old who won the Group 3 Prix de Psyche at Deauville this summer, is another French threat and is trained by Fabrice Chappet.
Also headed here from France are the Group 1 stakes winner Pagera , a 4-year-old who is trained by Henri-Alex Pantall, and the Group 3 stakes winner Trois Lunes, a 3-year-old who is conditioned by Francois Rouhaut.
Princess Highway, a 3-year-old Group 2 stakes winner trained by Dermot Weld, is Ireland’s representative for the E.P. Taylor.
Three Euros target Nearctic
As de Trebol, Fire Lily, and Night Carnation are expected to make the trans-Atlantic crossing for the $500,000 Nearctic, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward.
Based in France with trainer Mauricio Delcher Sanchez, the 6-year-old As de Trebol is a Group 3 winner of more than $240,000.
Fire Lily, a 3-year-old filly who is trained in Ireland by David Wachman, is a multiple Group 3 winner and has placed in Group 1 and Group 2 stakes.
Night Carnation, conditioned by Balding, is a 4-year-old filly with a Group 3 win on her r é sum é .
Stars to Shine tunes up for Taylor
Stars to Shine, a locally based candidate for the E.P. Taylor, breezed five furlongs in 59.80 seconds under hrer regular rider, Alex Solis, on the training turf course here Friday.
Owned by The Grange House Partnership and trained by Mark Frostad, Stars to Shine is coming off a third-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Canadian, which was won by Barefoot Lady with All Star Heart the runner-up and also headed for the E.P. Taylor.
“I thought she was unlucky not to be second,” said Frostad. “She ended up on the lead a lot sooner than everybody thought she would. That front runner, Laughing, just stopped.”
Two local horses in Keeneland stakes
Trainers Roger Attfield and Ian Black will be represented in stakes at Keeneland on Sunday.
Smart Sting, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old who is trained by Attfield for owner/breeder Frank Stronach, is entered in the Grade 1 Spinster, a $500,000 stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.
Really Sharp, bred in Kentucky by his owners Richard and Nancy Kaster, is slated to make his stakes debut in the Grade 3 Bourbon, a 1 1/16- mile turf race for 2-year-olds.
Both the Spinster and the Bourbon are Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In races.
Technicality bars betting on Arc
For the first time, U.S. tracks will be able to bet directly into the Longchamp pools for Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Day this Sunday.
Canadian bettors , however, will be left out in the cold.
“It’s a technological issue,” said Greg Martin, director of wagering operations for the Woodbine Entertainment Group.
The problem revolves around breakage, which involves rounding off the odds on the dollar to the next-lowest nickel in Canada. In the United States the breakage is 10 percent, which was the template adopted by France’s Pari-Mutuel Urbain.
“They were going to apply the 10 percent breakage at the source and our regulations, under the Criminal Code, do not permit that,” said Martin. “They couldn’t send us a raw price so we could break to the nickel.”
Martin added that it should be only a matter of time before wagering on French races becomes part of the menu here.
“We’d like to offer common-pool betting on the French races, like we do with the U.K.,” said Martin. “We think they got a good product.”
Woodbine’s HorsePlayer Interactive television will show Sunday’s Longchamp races on a tape delay basis. The first race should air at approximately 7:20 a.m.
◗ Jennifer Morrison will be hosting the Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club’s annual “Ladies’ Night” beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the third-floor Champions area here Wednesday. Morrison’s guests will include trainers Carolyn Costigan and Barbara Minshall; jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson; Janis Maine, business manager for the stable of her husband, trainer Reade Baker; and Dawn Lupul, Woodbine television host.
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