By Emily Shields
Trainer Mark Casse has two entrants in the $1 million Woodbine Mile (G1) on Saturday, September 19 at Woodbine Racetrack. The prestigious race drew a field of eight.
March to the Arch and War of Will bookend the field from the barn of Mark Casse, who also sends out Olympic Runner in the one-mile race. War of Will is best known as the 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner, but the striking son of War Front found a new life on turf when winning the Grade 1 Makers Mark Mile at Keeneland last out. He had is Grade 1 placed on this turf course as a maiden last year when second in the Summer Stakes, and the $1.7 million earner has been training well at Churchill Downs for this. Leading pilot Rafael Hernandez will be aboard.
March to the Arch is unbeaten on the turf course after taking the Grade 2 King Edward – the local prep for this race – on August 15. The son of Arch is a five-year-old gelding who also won here in 2018 in listed stakes company over nine furlongs. He is two for six this year a win in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Park in January.
Olympic Runner rounds out the Casse trio. He was second here in the Grade 3 Vigil sprinting behind superhorse Pink Lloyd last out. The son of Gio Ponti was also second in the Grade 3 Bold Venture, but has yet to place in a turf stakes race here. He is a stakes winner on the main track and is bred to like the grass.
They will all face the mighty mare Starship Jubilee. She was a Grade 2 winner at Saratoga, a Grade 2 winner at Tampa Bay Downs, and a Grade 3 heroine at Gulfstream Park already this year, then missed by four lengths in Grade 1 company at Saratoga last out behind future Hall of Famer Rushing Fall. Kevin Attard trains the daughter of Indy Wind, a seven-year-old with a whopping 18 wins in 27 starts.
Shirl’s Speight completes the top choices. The unbeaten son of Speightstown was pointing for the 2020 Kentucky Derby when a cough forced him to miss that race. He broke his maiden on this course by eight lengths in July, then won the Grade 3 Marine on the main track. Roger Attfield trains the colt, who is two-for-two and will have Kimura aboard.
The Woodbine Mile will go as the ninth race on a 12-race card. There are three other stakes, including the graded Singspiel Stakes worth $125,000 for turf horses going ten furlongs. Watch and wager on the entire 2020 Woodbine meeting live oh TVG.
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