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Canadian International attracts star-studded field; Tannery
|Forte Dei Marmi brings a three-race win streak into the Canadian International
(WEG/Michael Burns Photography)
Forte Dei Marmi, Slumber, Hyper and defending champion
Joshua Tree top a very competitive field of 11 entered for Sunday's Grade 1, C$1
million Canadian International at Woodbine. The 11 hopefuls were bred in
Great Britain, United States, Ireland, France and Canada.
In addition to the 1 1/2-mile turf event,
one of Canada's richest Thoroughbred races, another Grade 1 turf stakes will highlight the undercard
in the C$500,000
E. P. Taylor
sending fillies and mares 1 1/4 miles.
The 76th edition of the Canadian International will go postward at
5:42 p.m. (EDT). All horses carry 126 pounds, except
Irish Mission, the only filly in the field (she is also cross-entered in the E. P. Taylor), who will lug 123 pounds, and three-year-old Stormy Len, who
carries 119 pounds.
Forte Dei Marmi, one of two Canadian International hopefuls trained by Roger Attfield,
enters on a three-race win streak. The seven-year-old son of Selkirk captured the Singspiel on July 7,
Classic on August 18 and Northern Dancer on September 15 over yielding, firm and
firm going, respectively. Established as
the lukewarm 3-1 morning-line favorite, Forte Dei Marmi was the last horse
drawn in the post position draw, getting post eight.
The British-bred gelding also finished a good third, one length behind winner Joshua Tree,
in last year's Canadian International.
Attfield, one of only a handful of horsemen inducted into
both the Canadian and U.S. Racing Hall of Fame, is still seeking his first
Canadian International win after finishing second on three occasions with Spice Route
(2008), Alywow (1994) and Steady Power (1989). Eurico Rosa da Silva, who
leads all Woodbine riders with 24 stakes victories, rides Forte Dei Marmi, his
first Canadian International mount.
|Hyper is an improving sort who could jump up in a big way on Sunday
(NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)
"I'm quite happy with the post positions for both horses,"
said Attfield, who will also saddle Northern Dancer neck-second Perfect Timber. "Yes, (Forte Dei Marmi
is) in great shape. Both horses are
really, really doing well. It would appear that Forte Dei Marmi has been in good
form for a little while now. I just hope we can keep him there for a bit
Slumber, a lightly-raced
British-bred son of Cacique, comes into the
Canadian International off a fourth-place finish in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic
Invitational at Belmont Park on September 28. The five-year-old was just 1 1/4 lengths
behind the winner, Breeders' Cup Turf-bound defending champion Little Mike, with
two-time Grade 1 winner Big Blue Kitten and Arlington Million winner Real
Solution the only other horses to finish in front of him that day.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who won the 1995
Canadian International with Lassigny, and to be ridden for the first time by another Hall
of Famer in jockey Mike Smith, Slumber will try to give owner Juddmonte a record fourth victory
in the race (since 1958), following French Glory (1990), Raintrap (1994) and Champs Elysees
"He kind of had to wait to make his run (in the Turf
Classic)," Mott explained. "Maybe if he had got clear a little earlier he could
have benefited and been a little closer."
Trainer Chad Brown will saddle the third choice, Ken and
Sarah Ramsey's Hyper, for the Canadian International. The six-year-old son of
Canadian-bred Hall of Famer Victory Gallop is on a two-race
win streak, having taken the July 31 Johns Call at Saratoga and September 7 Bowling Green at Belmont Park.
The Ramseys set a races-won record at Keeneland this year
and are the continent's leading money-winning owners with $10.8 million in
purses. Joel Rosario, who won the Dubai World Cup in March on Animal Kingdom and
the Kentucky Derby on Orb in May, climbs aboard Hyper for the first time.
Joshua Tree, who won the 2010 and 2012 editions
of the Canadian International, makes his fourth consecutive appearance, trying
to become the first three-time winner of the race. The Irish-bred six-year-old
son of Montjeu won for trainer Aidan O'Brien in 2010 before finishing second in
2011 and winning the 2012 edition for conditioner Marco Botti.
|Joshua Tree seeks to become
the first threepeat winner of the Canadian International
(WEG/Michael Burns Photography)
Now trained by Ed Dunlop, Joshua Tree is far and way the field's leading
money winner with more than $3.2 million but is winless in six starts since last year's
victory. He'll be ridden by Ryan Moore on Sunday off a 13th-place finish to wonder filly Treve in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
on October 6.
Lucayan was third to Breeders' Cup Turf-bound Indy Point in the
September 29 John Henry Turf Classic at Santa Anita, but the Neil Drysdale pupil
in five starts this year in North America. The French-bred four-year-old will be reunited with French jockey Stephane Pasquier
in Sunday's contest. Pasquier was aboard Lucayan for his two wins last
year in France, including the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French Two Thousand Guineas) at Longchamp.
Irish Mission, an Ontario-bred
four-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway, has won only one of her seven
outings this season. However, the Mark Frostad trainee most recently finished fourth, only a length
behind Forte Dei Marmi, in the Northern Dancer. Last year, the chestnut filly scored in the Woodbine Oaks
and Breeders' Stakes and was runner-up in the Queen's Plate
en route to Sovereign Awards as Canada's top three-year-old filly and top female turfer.
Irish Mission will be ridden by Gary Boulanger as she tries to become just the seventh filly or mare to win
the Canadian International since
1958 and the sixth different Canadian-bred to win.
The field is completed by Irish-bred North American debuter Seismos, winner
of the August 11 Grosser Preis von Bayern
at Munich; multiple Grade 1-placed Stormy Len; last-out Grade 3 scorer Temeraine;
and Group 2 victor Now We Can, who will be competing outside of France for the
first time in the Canadian International.
|Tannery was a powerful winner of the Sheepshead Bay earlier this year
(NYRA/Joe Labozzetta/Adam Coglianese Photography)
The E. P. Taylor will go postward at 4:38 p.m. and has drawn a field of 10, headed by New York-based Tannery.
the Sheepshead Bay and recent runner-up in the Flower Bowl Invitational, the
Dylan Thomas filly will have Rosario aboard as she tries Woodbine's turf for the
Tannery raced exclusively in Ireland before shipping stateside and taking up
residence in trainer Alan Goldberg's shedrow. The four-year-old filly made her
U.S. bow a third-place run in the Garden City in September 2012 before traveling
to Keeneland for a subpar eighth-placing in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge
Cup. The bay miss returned to New York and closed out her sophomore campaign
with a fourth, just three parts of a length back of the winner, in the Long
Island Handicap at Aqueduct and hasn't been outside of the Empire State since.
Tannery faced the boys two back in the Sword Dancer, missing by three lengths
when fourth, and drew the far outside post for the E. P. Taylor.
Trainer Michael Matz will saddle two in the race, sending out the respective
one-two finishers from Woodbine's September 15 Canadian in Minakshi and Colonial
Flag. Neither one was favored in that nine-furlong grass contest, with Minakshi
just getting the half-length victory at 7-1 over her 10-1 stablemate. The
Footstepsinthesand mare was making her Woodbine debut that day, while Colonial
Flag, a four-year-old daughter of Pleasant Tap, captured her prior appearance on
the Toronto green when taking the Ontario Colleen in August 2012.
Moment of Majesty was 1 3/4 lengths behind Colonial Flag when third in the
Canadian last out following a neck third in the Belle Mahone as the defending
champion. That was the Saint Liam six-year-old's first start for Attfield after
previously being conditioned by first Sue Leslie and then Andrew McKeever.
Group 3 winners Moment of Time, Fitful Skies and Samba Brazil will all be
making their North American bows in the E. P. Taylor while Grade 3 vixen No
Explaining and Grade 2-placed Nancy O complete the field. As previously
mentioned, Irish Mission is cross-entered to both the Canadian International and
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