Everybody is talking about Woodbine. Saturday's excellent Woodbine card features three Breeders' Cup Win & You're In events - the Nearctic, E.P Taylor and Canadian International - and my local news scanner is starting to smoke as reports flow in at quadruple the usual pace.
Will Redwood stand tall on Saturday?
Let's take a look at some of the stories:
ESPN is talking about the E.P Taylor: Contredanse set for E.P. Taylor:
The E.P. Taylor Stakes generally attracts several European fillies and mares, lured by the 1 1/4-mile turf race's Grade 1 status and $1 million purse. But the European influence in Saturday's renewal of the race is unprecedented -- no fewer than eight of the 10 entrants will be European shippers.
"It looks like I'm representing all of North America," said Roger Attfield, the locally based trainer who will send out Miss Keller and Mekong Melody.
Both Attfield fillies are coming off turf stakes wins here. Miss Keller won the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile Canadian, and Mekong Melody won the 1 1/2-mile Flaming Page.
But the filly to beat could be Contredanse, a 3-year-old who lost by a head to Lily of the Valley last time out in the Group 3 Prix de la Nonette at about 1 1/4 miles on good turf at Deauville on Aug. 22.
Has Roger Attfield made the necessary adjustments to win the E.P Taylor with Miss Keller?
There's a few reports on Fifty Proof. Some call the big guy Tiny...others call him The Big Train. Either way, the little and large combo of Justin Stein and Fifty Proof is a popular story. The Globe & Mail reports: The strength of Fifty Proof:
Fifty Proof is a monster, in a good way.
He’s the biggest horse at Woodbine Racetrack here, standing 17 hands tall in his stocking feet – or 5-foot-8 at the highest point of his back. He can barely fit into a starting gate. He looks like an elephant squeezing into a shoebox, his head crumpled against his chest, until the gate springs open. Back at the barns, they call him Tiny.
He’s ridden by the shortest jockey at the track – Justin Stein, who on a good day is five feet tall.
Fifty Proof was also the topic of discussion at Andrew's Ontario Horse Racing blog, and again on the Daily Racing Form and featured prominently here on TripleDeadHeat.Ca.
You want proof? You can't handle the Proof!
The BloodHorse.Com sees a bettor's paradise in the Nearctic - Plenty of Options in 12-Horse Nearctic Stakes:
Winless in seven starts since taking last year's Nearctic Stakes (Can-IT), Field Commission will face a much more difficult task in this year's renewal when he faces 11 rivals in the $500,000 turf event at Woodbine Oct. 16.
In what shapes up as an outstanding betting race, this year's entrants include a pair of last-out group II winners from Europe, the German-bred colt Amico Fritz and the Great Britain-based Balthazaar's Gift; local grade II victors Signature Red and Grand Adventure; and 2008 Canadian Horse of the Year Fatal Bullet, who showed a liking for the turf in his last start.
Take a shot on Fatal Bullet in the Nearctic
The Press Association filed a polite report about Redwood. Red ready for Canadian assault:
Redwood is reported to have arrived at Woodbine in rude health ahead of his tilt at the Pattison Canadian International on Saturday night.
The Barry Hills-trained four-year-old struck gold in the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at the track last month and although he has since travelled home and back again, Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, expects another bold show.
He said: "He's travelled over very well and everyone seems really pleased with him. Obviously it's a big ask for him to make a second Atlantic crossing in a month, but he seems to have handled it very well."
The Irish Times turn over a new leaf on the Joshua Tree. O'Donoghue in the hot seat:
COLM O’DONOGHUE will be in the $2 million (€1.4 million) hot seat on board Joshua Tree when the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt lines up for the Pattisson Canadian International at Woodbine on Saturday night.
Last year’s Royal Lodge winner only returned to action this season in August’s Great Voltigeur at York when third to Rewilding and subsequently disappointed in the Doncaster St Leger when fifth to Arctic Cosmos.
However, O’Brien has decided to try to emulate his 2002 Canadian International success with Ballingarry and send Joshua Tree to Toronto with O’Donoghue riding.
The educational Hello Race Fans! website lecures Ten Things You Should Know: Canadian International:
1) The Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International is run at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
2) The race was run for the first time in 1938 at the Long Branch Racetrack, which was also located in Toronto. Long Branch closed in 1955, and the race has been run at Woodbine since 1956.
3) It has been run under a number of different names, including the Long Branch Championship, Canadian Championship Stakes, Canadian International Championship Stakes, Rothman’s International, and Canadian International. It got its current name, the Pattison Canadian International, in 2003.
4) The race is run at a distance of 1 1/2 miles on the turf. It has been run at distances as short as a 1 1/16 miles and as long as 1 5/8 miles. It has been at 1 1/2 miles since 1987. It was switched from dirt to turf in 1958.
Tired of reading? There's plenty to look at on YouTube. Check out some of the great videos below:
1973 Canadian International. Complete footage of Secretariat's last race at Woodbine
Champs Elysees wins the 2009 Canadian International
Canada's Thornfield wins the 1999 Canadian International. Can Fifty Proof join the Canadian Club of International winners?
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I'll post a preview of the big event on Saturday morning so please check back for my picks and last minute updates.
For all the latest news on the Pattison Canadian International, E.P Taylor and Nearctic Stakes click into TripleDeadHeat's Woodbine News page or join in on the conversation by following TripleDeadHeat on Twitter.