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Wise Dan, trio of Euros highlight Woodbine Mile nominees

Wise Dan is likely to mount a title defense (WEG/Michael Burns Photography)
Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan heads a list of 12 horses that have been nominated to the 17th edition of the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile. Slated for September 15, the C$1 million contest is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race.

Wise Dan, trained by Charles LoPresti for Morton Fink, is the marquee name on the list and is expected to return to Woodbine to defend his 2012 title. The six-year-old boasts an eight-race winning streak, and has won 13 of his last 15 starts, all stakes events.

Other U.S.-based runners named to the turf race are King Kreesa, Wise Dan's gallant rival in the Fourstardave Stakes earlier this month; multiple Argentinean Group 1 star Winning Prize, a sensational allowance winner in his U.S. bow for Neil Drysdale; Za Approval, second in the Shoemaker Mile in June and entered in Saturday's Bernard Baruch at Saratoga; and Dimension, who scored the Play the King Stakes this past weekend at Woodbine.

The three European nominees -- Trade Storm, Gale Force Ten and Mshawish -- hail from England, Ireland and France, respectively.

Trade Storm, winner of the Zabeel Mile during the Dubai Carnival, was fourth to all-stars Toronado, Dawn Approach and Declaration of War in the Sussex two back. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Gale Force Ten finished second in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas before capturing the Jersey at Royal Ascot. Mshawish was fourth to Dawn Approach and Toronado, the continent's highest ranked milers, in the St. James's Palace Stakes. In his only start since Royal Ascot, the Mikel Delzangles trainee landed the Prix de Tourgeville at Deauville.

The locals could put up a formidable challenge as Excaper and Riding the River, second and third in the Play the King last time out, are also nominated, as is Breeders' Stakes runner-up River Seven.

Trade Storm could be joined by fellow European invaders Gale Force Ten and Mshawish (Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club)
The Mile has spawned its fair share of local winners, like Numerous Times and Soaring Free and high-profile U.S. invaders, Leroidesanimaux, Shakespeare and Court Vision.

Earlier this week, LoPresti sounded optimistic that Wise Dan would mount a title defense at Woodbine.

"There's a very, very, very good possibility he's coming to Canada," LoPresti said Monday morning. "He's in really good form."

Lopresti did have a caveat. He wanted to see how Turallure, another of the barn's stable stars, would run this weekend before cementing a Woodbine return for Wise Dan.

"I'm just waiting to see how well Turallure runs in the Bernard Baruch and we'll make our final decision," LoPresti said.  

"I feel pretty certain that we're coming there but there's an outside chance that if Turallure doesn't run well, we might keep (Wise Dan) at Keeneland and run him in the Shadwell (Mile at Keeneland on October 5).  

"If Turallure runs well, I can't bring him up there with only a two-week break, so Wise Dan would come for sure. So, there's a very good chance he's coming."

Turallure, prominent in his own right, also won an edition of the Woodbine Mile in 2011.

LoPresti said a Woodbine visit makes sense for Wise Dan.

"He was really good last year," he said. "He liked it there. He liked the turf. He galloped over it well. I think he's coming into this race just as good as he was last year. I think he's in top form. This is the time of year he really gets good."

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