08/31/2012 2:21PM

Woodbine: Wise Dan tops nominees for Woodbine Mile

Tom Keyser
Wise Dan is being pointed to the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on Sept. 16.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Charlie Lopresti won last year’s Woodbine Mile with Turallure, who went on to finish the closest of seconds in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs.

And while Turralure had his troubles this year, going to the sidelines in early July, Lopresti is planning to return with an equally formidable competitor in Wise Dan.

The 22 nominees for this year’s Sept. 16 Woodbine Mile, a turf race for 3-year-olds and up that offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $1 million and is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, were released by the Woodbine Entertainment Group on Friday.

Lopresti had announced that the Woodbine Mile would be next on Wise Dan’s schedule after the 5-year-old gelding was a very impressive winner of the Grade 2 Fourstardave over one mile of yielding going at Saratoga on Aug.  11.

“He’s still at Saratoga, but he’s going to Kentucky today,” Lopresti said Friday morning, adding that Wise Dan would be training at Keeneland. “He’ll probably come in there the Thursday before the race.”

John Velazquez, who took over as Wise Dan’s regular rider last fall, has the call for the Woodbine Mile.

Velazquez won the 2000 Woodbine Mile with Riviera and the 2005 renewal with Leroidesanimaux.

Four other horses based in the United States, along with eight from Europe and nine based at Woodbine, complete the list of Woodbine Mile nominees.

Woodbine stakes manager Julie Bell said the Europeans Dance and Dance, a close and troubled sixth in last year’s Woodbine Mile; Cityscape, winner of the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free over 1 1/8 miles of turf at Meydan this March; and Worthadd, second last time out in a listed stakes over one mile of turf in Germany, all are under consideration.

Big Band Sound, Riding the River, Delegation, and Artic Fern are expected to return for the Woodbine Mile after finishing first through fourth in last Sunday’s Grade 2 Play the King Stakes over seven furlongs of turf.

Hollinger, who breezed five furlongs on the turf training course here Friday under exercise rider Darren Fortune, and Hunter’s Bay are other locals under consideration.

Northern Dancer, Canadian nominees

The Woodbine Mile will be one of four stakes races contested here Sept, 16.

The others are the Grade 1 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up that is worth $500,000; the Grade 2 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares with a $300,000 pot; and the $150,000 Ontario Derby, an open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds.

The Northern Dancer is situated as the major local stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $1.5 million Canadian International over 1 1/2 miles of turf here Oct. 14.

The Canadian fills the same role for the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares on the Oct. 14 program.

The Northern Dancer attracted 14 nominees headed by Scalo, the Group 1-winning German invader who finished a close third in the Grade  2 Sky Classic at 1 1/4 miles here Aug. 19.

Scalo, an English-bred 5-year-old horse trained by Andreas Wohler, came here with an eye toward competing in the Sky Classic and Northern Dancer, with his ultimate goal being the Canadian International.

Wigmore Hall, last year’s Northern Dancer winne; Joshua Tree, winner of the 2010 Canadian International and second in the race last year; Treasure Beach, third in last year’s Canadian International; and Group 2 winner Vadamar are other potential European invaders on the Northern Dancer list.

Musketier, the 10-year-old 1 1/2-mile turf specialist trained by Roger Attfield; and Irish Mission, a 3-year-old filly who defeated 3-year-old males over the course and distance in the Aug. 5 Breeders’ Stakes; are looking to represent the home team.

Forte dei Marmi, trained by Attfield, is coming off a win here in the Grade 2 Sky Classic over 1 1/4 miles of turf and is nominated to both the Woodbine Mile and the Northern Dancer.

“I don’t really want to cut him back to a mile after stretching him out to a mile and a quarter,” said Attfield, who sent out Forte dei Marmi to breeze five furlongs in 1:00.80 over the turf training course here Friday with jockey Alex Solis in the irons. “And, the same owner has Musketier for the other race.”

Kapitale, a German-bred 4-year-old filly who was a closing fourth when making her North American debut in Arlington’s Grade 1 Beverly D. over 1 3/16 miles of turf Aug. 18, is among the 16 nominees for the Canadian.

Trained by Woehler, Kapitale has to fulfill quarantine requirements in the United States before heading here for the Canadian and a potential berth in the E.P. Taylor.

The list of nominees for the Summer and Natalma, a pair of Grade 2, $250,000 turf races that will be run here Sept. 15, also were released Friday.

Both races are for 2-year-olds, with the Natalma restricted to fillies, and are Win and You’re In races for their respective Breeders’ Cup events.

A total of 25 horses nominated to the Natalma and 28 to the Summer.

Pair tunes up for Presque Isle stakes

Eternal Rule and Atlantic Hurricane both worked on the main track here Friday in preparation for stakes at Presque Isle Downs this week.

Friday’s Presque Isle Mile, a $250,000 race for 3-year-olds and up, is the target of Eternal Rule, while Atlantic Hurricane is eyeing Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Presque Isle Masters for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Atlantic Hurricane, a 5-year-old trained by Stu Simon, was clocked in 1:00.20 under exercise rider Brian Dantes.

“She’s really, really back to her herself now,” said Simon, who had to send Atlantic Hurricane to the farm due to a blood disorder earlier this year.

Regular rider Emile Ramsammy has the call on Atlantic Hurricane for the Presque Isle Masters.

Eternal Rule, trained by Sid Attard, breezed six furlongs in 1:12.20 under rider Jesse Campbell.

“He worked good,” Attard said. “I caught him galloping out [seven furlongs] in 1:25.20.”