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Favourite Master of The Seas captures $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile turf race

Defending champion Town Cruise highlights solid '22 Ricoh Woodbine Mile field Article Image 1 Defending champion Town Cruise highlights solid '22 Ricoh Woodbine Mile field Article Image 1 - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Another year, another $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile win for Godolphin, trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick.

Buick rode Irish-bred Master of The Seas to an impressive 3 3/4-length victory Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack. The 2/5 favourite rallied from last in the six-horse field to earn the victory in his first North American appearance and seventh in 14 career starts.

"He usually breaks pretty fast (but) for one reason or another he didn't today," Buick said. "But there wasn't many runners and the pace was even.

"It's a big fair track and he's a horse with a turn of foot so it was kind of my job to navigate a trouble-free passage."

Buick's trip aboard Masters of The Seas was indeed a patient one. Breaking from the No. 1 post, the five-year-old gelding was last heading into the final turn before moving up to fourth coming into the stretch.

Buick took Masters of The Seas to the lead at about the eighth pole, and from that point on the remainder of the field was battling for second. Masters of The Seas captured a third victory, to go along with a third in four starts this year.

"He's pretty high maintenance, but everyone at home has done a great job with him," Buick said. "I thought today he was much more the finished article."

Appleby wasn't present Saturday but assistant trainer Alex Merriam said he wasn't concerned with Masters of The Seas' start.

"He's a horse that needs to settle in his races," he said. "They went nice even fractions all the way around, so he had a pretty smooth trip.

"I was never too worried. Will has always looked pretty confident on him."

Shirl's Speight was second despite jockey John Velazquez having the Canadian-owned 4/1 pick sitting fifth for much of the race. Shirl's Speight is owned by Edmonton native Charles Fipke and trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Roger Attfield.

Canadian-bred Lucky Score, a 19/1 long-shot ridden by Sahin Civaci, finished third. The remainder of the field, in order, was: War Bomber; Ice Chocolat; and My Sea Cottage.

Godolphin and Buick won last year's Mile with Modern Games, another Irish-bred horse. The recently retired Modern Games went on to capture the '22 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Saturday's victory earned Master of The Seas a fees-paid berth into the US$2-million Breeders’ Cup  Mile on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

"He'll ship home," Merriam said of Master of The Seas. "Then see how he comes out of the race and see how he is at the end of October time.

"Hopefully if he's well, maybe go back to the Breeders' Cup.”

The Mile was one of three Grade 1 turf races Saturday with a direct entry into the Breeders' Cup for the winner.

Carson's Run, a 3/1 pick with Dylan Davis aboard, came from the outside to win the $500,000 bet365 Summer Stakes for two-year-olds in 1:35.7. The victory was the second in three outings this season.

"We wanted to go with the outside route and keep a clear trip on him," Davis said. "We saved all the ground going into the turn, nice real big turn here and was able to lose that ground towards the outside and he was able to get it done"

Joel Rosario guided My Boy Prince, at 9/5, to second as Go With Gusto, a 15/1 pick under Civaci, was third in the nine-horse field. The start was delayed about 15 minutes as My Boy Prince required shoe repair.

The victory earned Carson's Run a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 3.

"He did very well there because he saved all the ground he could and then when he angled him out at the quarter pole," said assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul. "We had to come wide obviously, but that way you don’t get any traffic.”

“He had a clear run from quarter pole to the wire and he really showed what he is today.”

Velazquez took She Feels Pretty to the lead down the stretch en route to a commanding 4 1/4-length win in the $500,0000 Johnny Walker Natalma Stakes for two-year-old fillies in 1:35.34.

“I was very confident, I got to say she was feeling very confident," Velazquez said. "When we turned for home, I moved her to the clear and her ears went up.

"I said ‘Wow, look at this.' I went after her and she instantly responded. The way she did it was very impressive."

Simply in Front, a 29/1 long-shot ridden by Ryan Munger, was second ahead of British-bred Dazzling Star, the 7/5 favourite with Buick aboard.

She Feels Pretty improved to 2-0-0 this year as the Kentucky-bred secured a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf race Nov. 3.

"I've been very confident with her, especially with her training at Saratoga," said trainer Cherie DeVaux. "Every single day that she has trained she physically matured, she mentally matured.

"She goes out there and you can’t tell that she is a two-year-old filly. She looks like she is one of the older fillies and more impressively just how she trains every single day she is happy to do it, it gave me the confidence going into this, especially taking this big step."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2023.