WO Mile (Grade 1) (BC)- $1,000.000 Purse
WO- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Turf
September 14, 2019
With the BC Mile less then two months away now, the intensity is heating up to see who will be a part of the field. On Saturday, the WO Mile will take place north of the border, and is guaranteed to at least send its winner to the BC, but surely there be a handful of these who eventually make it there. Trainers were given good news for this race when it was declared that the $1,000.000 purse will be restored for the race, after having been run at $800.000 the last two years. One of the best stories in this race is Compress, who won this race in both 2016 and 2017, before running fifth last year. The six year old starts from the outside this time, and while Mb Stables is known for scratching horses from these posts often, hopefully he keeps Compress in so that he’ll have the chance to run here for the fourth year in a row, though this time will not be one of the favorites. The gate is full, and here’s a run down of the field!
#1- Call Me Godd (Sir Daniel Martin, ridden by J Bravo)- This gelding seems to like to alternate great races with a subpar run. He comes off a win in the Grade 3 Saranac only two weeks ago, where he came from behind to win at the Spa that day. It would be the first graded win of his career, but does this mean he is going to change his form pattern, or does it mean we can write him off since he struggles to put back to back strong runs together?
#2- Long River (Aer Stables, ridden by J J Hernandez)- The trainer will be hoping to forget about his last race quickly, where he was on the lead in a rather ridiculous pace in the Grade 2 DMR Handicap. Whether it was by design, or he got caught by the engine not having him react well to another, I don’t know, but he should be back to running a more sensible race, like he did two starts ago in his runner up at the Grade 2 BG Handicap.
#3- Dreaming Of Pirates (Estero Farms, ridden by E Maldonado)- He has been progressing nicely since being gelding, and the three year old is coming off back to back wins as he has moved into stake competition. His last race was a very impressive effort in the $500.000 Grade 1 Secretariat at AP, maintaining a smart trip throughout, before striking in the stretch and picking up the win. It was a close finish, and he sees several here that were close at the wire. He’ll be one of the top threats here.
#4- Going Gone (John Henry, ridden by A A Gallardo)- Ever since a disappointing finish in the BC Turf last season, Going Gone has become very consistent and a better horse. This combination will make him a stronger threat in the BC this time around, but for now, there some different business to take care of, and that is to extend his winning streak to three. Those last two victories came in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile and the Grade 2 Read Stakes, at SA and DMR, respectively. He’s been lightly raced, but at the same time, his layoff is less then 60 days and nothing to worry about. This makes him poised to run a big one.
#5- Cherra Grans (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by L H Colon)- Another foal out of El Gran Terra having success. We know how great his sire, Cherokee Sunset is, but both parents here have been very productive, so it simply makes sense that Cherra Grans has become this successful. Most recently, he was second in the Grade 1 Secretariat at AP that was won by Dreaming of Pirates, losing by a neck and actually being in a dead heat with City Of Bones, who he also sees again. Throwing out the Grade 1 BEL Derby, which was too long for him, Cherra Grans has been very consistent and should be close at the end.
#6- Devilish Luck (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- His name explains his last trip, having to deal with the crazy pace that was on display in the DMR Handicap. However, even before that he has been off, with a dud at the BG Handicap as well, and a flat run at the Shoemaker Mile. This must make the Grade 1 Makers Mark Mile that he won in April, at KEE, seem like an eternity ago for the trainer. This field has come up stacked, so it’s hard to like him, given who he is running against.
#7- City Of Bones (John Henry, ridden by J R Velazquez)- I like the race within the race here of the three horses who were heads apart last month in the Grade 1 Secretariat at AP. All of them are great horses, and have the ability to win this race, and potentially be a part of the BC Mile. City Of Bones ran second that day, doing so in a dead heat with Cherra Grans. They’ll have some other great opposition to contend with that they didn’t see at AP, but it really could be a precursor of a fantastic finish here in the WO Mile.
#8- Decision In Five (Nakamura Stables, ridden by L Saez)- His last win came back in May, where he was very impressive in scoring a four length win at the Grade 3 Fort Mercy, earning a 104 SRF in the process. We haven’t seen that kind of dominance from him again, but he has still picked up a couple of fourth place checks in his last two runs: the Grade 3 Poker Stakes at BEL, and the Grade 2 Read Stakes at DMR. He has had some time to rest, and recent works are strong. Could be lost in the shuffle from other big names here on the odds board. If they climb, take a shot.
#9- Jamie Mach (RNP Stables, ridden by J K Court)- The five year old gelding has spent most of his recent races going longer, closer to twelve furlongs, and has won two out of three. The one he did not win was still a good performance, placing third at the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at SAR three weeks ago. At times, he has run a mile, and has done very well, too, but they are not his most impressive runs. Taking on some excellent milers here, he better not wait too long to show his best stuff!
#10- Rules Are Madness (Angelos Stable, ridden by Alan Garcia)- Well, this race could not be complete without a filly taking on the boys, could it? There are not many high purses like this for females, so if you think she’s good enough, then I understand the move. She’ll have a six pound weight allowance on the older males, and three pounds on her fellow three year olds. She likes to get out on the lead, but can stay there, as we saw in the Grade 3 Lake George that she won.
#11- Nice Dive (Threshold, ridden by F Pennington)- Over his career, the Well Informed gelding has impressively won eleven of his 24 career races. After running third in the Shoemaker Mile last season for Smokey Stover, Threshold picked him up at the bargain $10.000 that was offered at the time. He won the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap soon after, but lately his best runs are second place finishes in races like the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple at SAR. If he is at his absolute best, then I can see him being a threat here, but it can be nothing less then that.
#12- Magne Bern (Gdp Inc, ridden by A Beschizza)- This one is also coming out of that Secretariat Stakes field at AP last month that saw Dreaming Of Pirates, Cherra Grans, and City Of Bones finish in a very tight photo for the win. If that photo was visible like we see in the real photo finish photos, there would have been a head close enough to be in the shot. That would have been fourth place Magne Bern. He’s alternated mile races and shorter sprints, though it seems to me like this is the type of race he should run in regularly. A good trip could help him turn the tables on them, but doing so from post twelve is not easy.
#13- General Ferro (Mb Stables, ridden by J Lezcano)- While four others in this field were battling it out closely in the Secretariat Stakes, that race was just part of the undercard for the AP Million, a race that General Ferro ran in. However, we might not have noticed him there, as he ran a distant ninth. It was a disappointing finish for a horse that seemed to be heading in the right direction, and now we should see him like to cut back in his distance, and he may try to get some of that outside push early.
#14- Compress (Mb Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- Compress has made his mark in the WO Mile, winning the race in both 2016 and 2017. He conceded that crown last year, running fifth, but he still has been able to be productive. It’s great that he is here, and this will be the first time that Mb Stables runs him on the grass, in their fourth start together. He’s become an inconsistent horse, but it would be a good story for him to win this again. I don’t think he will, but would love to write about it if he did.