09/07/2013 12:29PM

Woodbine: Riding the River readies for Woodbine Mile

Michael Burns
Riding the River (right), winning the King Edward, is pointing for the $1 million Woodbine Mile next Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Riding the River tuned up for the Woodbine Mile here Saturday with a five-furlong breeze under rider Todd Kabel on the main track.

Slated to work in company in a scenario that went awry, Riding the River was given an official time of 1:03, which was disputed by his trainer and co-owner, Dave Cotey.

“His workmate, Honey Come Home, broke off way in front of him,” Cotey said. “He tracked her anyway and caught up to her.”

Honey Come Home also was given a time of 1:03 for the work, which took place during heavy rainfall.

“He caught up to her,” Cotey said. “There’s no way he could have worked in the same time. I caught him in 1:01.80. I was really happy with him. Todd said he went great.”

The Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile, a Win and You’re In turf race for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, will be run here next Sunday on a card that also includes the Grade 1 Northern Dancer, the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes, and the Grade 3 Ontario Derby.

Riding the River finished third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths, in his most recent start Aug. 25 in the Grade 2 Play the King over seven furlongs on turf here. Apprentice jockey Skye Chernetz was aboard that day, as Kabel opted to ride Valentino Beauty, who finished eighth.

Kabel has regained the mount for the Woodbine Mile. He guided Riding the River to Grade 2 victories in last year’s King Edward at one mile and Nijinsky at 1 1/8 miles in a campaign that earned Riding the River a Sovereign Award as Canada’s champion male grass horse.

This year, Kabel piloted Riding the River to a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup at seven furlongs, a repeat win in the King Edward, and a seventh-place finish in the Nijinsky.

Riding the River finished fourth in his last start of 2012 in the Woodbine Mile, beaten 6 1/4 lengths by Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year who is scheduled to defend his title.

“He’s going into the race hopefully a little different now,” Cotey said of Riding the River.

The Kentucky-based Dimension and the local Excaper, the top two finishers in the Play the King, also are expected for the Woodbine Mile, along with New York shipper Za Approval and English invader Trade Storm.

Dimension breezed three furlongs in 37.60 seconds Saturday at his Skylight Training Center base for trainer Conor Murphy.