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Woodbine: Europeans fare well on Woodbine Mile Day
By Bill Tallon
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – While Cityscape was a mild disappointment as the third-place finisher in the Woodbine Mile, two of his fellow European invaders snagged the top prizes in Sunday’s other two graded turf stakes here.
Wigmore Hall, winner of last year’s Northern Dancer, repeated his success in the Grade 1, $504,000 stakes for 3-year-olds and upward at 1 1/2 miles.
Earlier on the program, Barefoot Lady had made her North American debut a winning one in the Grade 2, $314,200 Canadian Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Neither Wigmore Hall’s trainer, Michael Bell, nor Barefoot Lady’s trainer, Richard Fahey, was present at Woodbine. Traveling assistants Gillie Dolman, with Wigmore Hall, and Alyson Deniel, with Barefoot Lady, had been with their respective charges since their arrival on Sept. 8.
Wigmore Hall had returned to England, just as he did last year, after finishing seventh but beaten just 3 1/4 lengths in the Aug. 18 Arlington Million at 1 1/4 miles on the turf.
Back at Woodbine, and with a better pace to chase, Wigmore Hall prevailed by a neck over a determined Al Khali, with jockey Jamie Spencer reprising his success of last season.
“Jamie said he always knew he was going to win,” said Dolman. “The horse was just stopping a little bit when he got to the front.”
Wigmore Hall’s future includes a possible start in Milan in the 1 1/2-mile Gran Premio del Jockey Club on Oct. 21 and a return to the United Arab Emirates for the Dubai Sheema Classic on March 30, 2013.
Wigmore Hall finished fourth last year in the Dubai Duty Free, a 1 1/8-mile turf race won by Cityscape. The Sheema Classic goes over 1 1/2 miles on turf.
Spencer draws penalty
It was an eventful day for Jamie Spencer, who was fined $6,000 for violating Ontario Racing Commission rules regarding use of the whip following his ride on Wigmore Hall. The fine equates to 20 percent of Spencer’s winning share of $30,000.
Spencer also had the mount on Barefoot Lady but there were some last-minute dramatics when the rider was unable to come close to meeting the 113-pound weight assignment.
“We found out about five minutes before the race,” said Deniel.
Local rider David Moran was recruited and handled the situation magnificently by guiding Barefoot Lady to a 1 1/2-length victory.
“The way she did it, for me, was impressive,” said Deniel. “You couldn’t ask for anything more from her. She’s brilliant – she’s just a racehorse.”
Barefoot Lady will stay on at Woodbine for the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares on Oct. 14.
Cityscape ‘a little flat’
Cityscape fared the best of the three Europeans in the Woodbine Mile, with fellow raiders Dance and Dance and Worthadd finishing fifth and seventh, respectively.
The 3-1 second choice under jockey James Doyle, Cityscape was within striking distance but failed to match Wise Dan’s closing kick and was beaten a total of 4 1/4 lengths.
“James didn’t feel that he was traveling that well,” said John DaCosta, traveling assistant for Cityscape’s trainer, Roger Charlton.
“He was a little flat. Usually, he just takes James to the front.”
Cityscape was heading home Monday, along with Wigmore Hall and Dance and Dance, There are no plans for Cityscape to return to North America this year, but trips to Japan and Hong Kong could be in his future.
Dance and Dance, who finished sixth in last year’s Woodbine Mile for trainer Ed Vaughan, has a range of options, including races in Europe, Japan, and Hong Kong.
Worthadd, who was sent out by trainer Mark Prescott, will be remaining in North America and will be trained by locally based Brian Lynch.
Because of quarantine requirements, Worthadd has to spend a minimum of 60 days in the United States and will be shipped Wednesday to Keeneland, where Lynch has stalls for the upcoming meeting.
Woehler duo fail to step up
Scalo and Kapitale, the Germain raiders who had arrived in North America last month, failed to improve on their encouraging openers on this side of the pond for trainer Andreas Woehler.
Beaten a length when third here in the Aug. 19 Sky Classic over 1 1/4 miles on turf, Scalo was racing at a more favorable distance but was beaten four lengths as the fourth-place finisher in the Northern Dancer.
Kapitale, fourth in the Grade 1 Beverly D. over 1 3/16 miles on turf at Arlington on Aug. 18, was competing at a distance shorter than her best in the Canadian and ended a total of five lengths back in fourth behind Barefoot Lady.
Riding the River to be rested
Riding the River, trained here by Dave Cotey, ran well in defeat when he was beaten 6 1/4 lengths as the Woodbine Mile’s fourth-place finisher.
With Patrick Husbands in the irons for the first time since riding Riding the River to victory in a first-level allowance more than two years ago, the 5-year-old gelding trailed early and did not kick until late.
“He’s had a serious back problem,” said Cotey, who also owns Riding the River in partnership with Hugh Galbraith and Jim McNair.
“Patrick did a great job, getting out of him what he did. He was having trouble keeping him in the race, he was so uncomfortable. But all of a sudden the horse pricked his ears, and came with a run.
“He won’t run again this year. He’s been good to us. He’s made more than $400,000. We’ll let him rest a little bit, and let his back heal up.”
A pair of solid thirds
Forte Dei Marmi, based here with Roger Attfield, and Stars to Shine, trained by Mark Frostad, earned high marks for their third-place finishes in Sunday’s other graded turf stakes.
Stretching out to 1 1/2 miles off his victory in the Njinsky, Forte Dei Marmi rallied to be beaten 1 1/4 lengths by winner Wigmore Hall and runner-up Al Khali in the Northern Dancer.
“I thought he ran a great race,” said Attfield. “It was a pity he had to change course. He was coming on, down inside Al Khali, and there wasn’t going to be enough room.
“I didn’t think the mile and a half bothered him.”
The Grade 1, $1.5 million Canadian International, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward here Oct. 14, will be among Forte Dei Marmi’s upcoming options.
Stars to Shine, coming off a ninth-place finish in the Beverly D, was beaten 2 1/4 lengths in the $300,000 Canadian.
“She ran pretty well, I thought,” said Frostad. “She was a little too close to the pace, maybe. And she was giving the winner six pounds – that was significant.
“She was flat at Arlington. She may be just rounding into form.”
The E.P. Taylor is Star’s to Shine’s next target.
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