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Modern Games makes history winning Ricoh Woodbine Mile

Horse racing Horse racing - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Modern Games, a three-year-old son of Dubawi -Modern Ideals, was stunning in victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 $1,017,200 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” program.

Trained by Charles Appleby for owner-breeder Godolphin, the chestnut colt put his name in the record books as the first sophomore to win the turf classic.

And he did it in style.

Get Smokin, one of two — March to the Arch was the other — Mark Casse trainees, seized early control of the Mile, as three local starters, War Bomber, Mighty Heart and Town Cruise rounded out the top four through an opening quarter reached in: 23.08, as Buick and Modern Games settled into eighth of 11.

It was still Get Smokin calling the shots after a half in: 45.79, the five-year-old son of Got Stormy holding a half-length advantage over War Bomber, as Modern Games remained eighth, with a wall of horses in front of him.

As the field navigated the turn for home, Buick roused his charge and the duo soon found daylight, methodically picking off their rivals with ease before taking command and sprinting away from the field.

Two lengths in front at the stretch call, Modern Games crossed the wire a 5 1/4-length winner. Ivar rallied to best Finest Sound by a neck for second, while Shirl’s Speight was fourth. Town Cruise (last year’s Mile victor), Mighty Heart, Wakanaka, March to the Arch, War Bomber, Get Smokin and Homer Screen rounded out the field.

The final time over firm ground was 1:32.77.

“I didn’t know that,” said Alex Merriam, assistant to Charles Appleby, in regard to Modern Games becoming the first three-year-old to win the Mile. “He’s a lovely horse, you know. Obviously, he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year, and he’s got some solid form in Europe. He’s just a lovely horse and I’m delighted.”

With Saturday’s win, Modern Games, now 6-2-1 from 11 starts, earns a fees-paid berth to run in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on Nov. 5.

Buick would love to get another chance at Breeders’ Cup glory with the multiple graded stakes winner.

“Very excited. Of course, he’s obviously a Juvenile Turf winner already last year, so you know he loves North American racing. We are very much looking forward to it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 17, 2022.