09/12/2011 2:08PM

Woodbine Mile field taking shape; Courageous Cat the likely favorite

Barbara D. Livingston
Courageous Cat is the likely favorite for Sunday's Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Courageous Cat, the probable favorite for the Woodbine Mile, had his final major tune-up at Saratoga on Sunday morning, breezing five furlongs on the training turf course in 59.95 seconds.

“He worked well,” trainer Bill Mott said. “He was off easy and finished up well.”

Courageous Cat heads a prospective field of 11 or 12 for the Woodbine Mile, a turf race for 3-year-olds and up that offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $1 million.

Trainer Christophe Clement, who was considering sending Gio Ponti for the Woodbine Mile and Winchester for Sunday’s Grade 1 Northern Dancer, informed Woodbine stakes manager Julie Bell on Monday that neither would be participating.

Clement, however, does plan to be represented in the Woodbine Mile by Right One, who won Belmont’s Grade 3 Jaipur over seven furlongs of turf in his last start July 16.

Garrett Gomez has the call on Right One, who breezed five furlongs in 1:04.10 around the dogs over a good Belmont inner turf course Sunday.

Other shippers from south of the border include Court Vision, last year’s Woodbine Mile winner, and Turallure, who captured the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch over 1 1/8 miles of turf in his last start at Saratoga on Aug. 26.

Court Vision breezed five furlongs in 1:02 at Churchill Downs on Monday for new trainer Dale Romans. Robby Albarado, who rode the horse to victory here last year, will be back in the saddle.

Turallure, trained by Charles Lopresti, is already at Woodbine, having checked in early Monday morning.

The European contingent, consisting of Side Glance, Dance and Dance, and Forte dei Marmi, was scheduled to arrive Tuesday evening. Forte dei Marmi is scheduled to run under trainer Roger Attfield’s name and will be staying here following the Woodbine Mile.

Meanwhile, locally based Woodbine Mile candidates Grand Adventure, Riding the River, and Hollinger breezed on different surfaces here Sunday morning.

Grand Adventure, coming off a troubled sixth-place finish here in the Grade 2 Play the King over seven furlongs of turf, went in a bullet 59.60 on the dirt training track with exercise rider Billy O’Connor aboard.

“I think the training track is the best surface right now,” trainer Mark Frostad said. “He worked well and galloped out well.”

Riding the River, who missed by a head as the Play the King runner-up, was clocked in 1:02.60 for five furlongs on the Polytrack, with regular rider Richard Dos Ramos in the irons.

“He’s not a big work horse; he never has been,” said Dave Cotey, trainer and a co-owner of Riding the River. “He saves it for the afternoon.”

Hollinger, who is trained by Attfield, breezed six furlongs in 1:12 on the training turf course with his regular rider Tyler Pizarro aboard.

“He worked very, very well and finished strong,” Attfield said. “It was a good work. Tyler was very happy with him.”

Woodbourne, who is eyeing the Woodbine Mile after finishing third as an outsider last year, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 under exercise rider Carey Springer here last Saturday in preparation for a return engagement.

Kara’s Orientation also breezed five furlongs on the main track last Saturday, going in 59.80 under jockey Emile Ramsammy. Kara’s Orientation is slated to see action in either the Woodbine Mile or the Northern Dancer.

The Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf race, is worth $500,000.

Kara’s Orientation was an upset winner of the Grade 2 Sky Classic over 1 1/4 miles of turf here last time out.

“We’re just going to leave it until the last minute,” trainer Steven Chircop said. “There are lots of pros and cons to each race.”