Live NBCSN Coverage from Canada Features Ricoh Woodbine Mile Saturday at 5 p.m. ET and Natalma Stakes Sunday at 4 p.m. ET
2019 Preakness Stakes winner War of Will leads Woodbine Mile for automatic berth into FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF
Live Coverage Will be Streamed on NBCSports.com & the NBC Sports app
TORONTO (Sept. 17, 2020) – Woodbine Racetrack in Canada will be the site of three Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying races on turf during NBCSN telecasts on Saturday and Sunday as a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing.”
This Saturday, Sept. 19, from 5-6 p.m. ET, the 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will headlines the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) for an automatic berth into the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF (G1).
On Sunday, from 4-6 p.m. ET, 2-year-olds will be in action in the $250,000 Summer Stakes (G1), with the winner receiving an automatic berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), and 2-year-old fillies will battle in the $250,000 Natalma Stakes (G1) for a “Win and You’re In” starting position into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
This weekend’s programs, produced in association with TVG, mark the seventh and eighth telecasts this year in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing” on NBC and NBCSN from some of North America’s most iconic racetracks. The series leads to the 37th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., scheduled for Nov. 6-7 on NBC and NBCSN. The complete series TV schedule can be accessed here.
Reporting and commentary for both telecasts will be provided by Todd Schrupp, Simon Bray, Britney Eurton, Christina Blacker, Matt Bernier and Jason Portuondo.
The Woodbine Mile and the Breeders’ Cup have long been connected. Each of the last 10 Woodbine Mile winners went on to run in the Mile. Three of them won both races in the same year: Hall of Famer Wise Dan (2012-2013) and World Approval (2017). Three other winners at Woodbine were second and one finished third in the Mile, while Mile winners, Court Vision (2010) and Tepin (2016), completed the double in different years.
Gary Barber’s War of Will, the 2-1 morning line favorite, proved his ability on dirt as a 3-year-old last year and has shown his versatility since being moved to the turf this season by Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse.
War of Will, ridden by Rafael Hernandez, finished a close fifth in his seasonal debut in May in Santa Anita’s Shoemaker Mile (G1), also a “Win and You’re In” for the Mile, before winning Keeneland’s Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) on July 10. War of Will, who was also ninth in last year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), is 5-for-16 lifetime, and a Woodbine Mile win would put him at or near the top of the North American turf division.
Among the top challengers in the race is Blue Heaven Farm’s Starship Jubilee, a former claimer, who will look to join Ventura and Tepin as only the third female to win the Woodbine Mile. The 7-year-old daughter of Indy Wind is a seven-time graded stakes winner for trainer Kevin Attard and is 6-for-13 over the Woodbine turf, which includes a win in last year’s E.P. Taylor (G1). Starship Jubilee, ridden by Justin Stein, is 18-for-37 lifetime and 4-for-5 this year, with a win over 2018 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner Sistercharlie (IRE) in Saratoga’s Ballston Spa (G2) in July. Starship Jubilee enters off a fourth-place finish in the Aug. 23 Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
Klaravich Stables’ Value Proposition comes north for trainer Chad Brown. A 4-year-old son of Dansili (GB), who is 3-for-5 lifetime, Value Proposition, ridden by Luis Contreras, will look to break through for his first career stakes win. In his last start, he finished third in the Poker Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park on July 4.
Casse also has entered Live Oak Plantation’s 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding March the Arch, ridden by Patrick Husbands, who comes into the race with a 2 ¼-length victory over Admiralty Pier in the Aug. 15 King Edward Stakes (G2) at Woodbine.
Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford’s Admiralty Pier, a 5-year-old gelded son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner English Channel, won the Tampa Bay Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs in February. A five-time winner for trainer Barbara Minshall, Admiralty Pier will be ridden by Steven Bahen.
Shifting to Sunday’s “Win and You’re In” 2-year-old qualifying races, Casse may have a top prospect in the 1-mile Summer Stakes with Gretzky the Great. Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Barber, Gretzky the Great, an Ontario-bred son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist, won the 6 ½-furlong Soaring Free Stakes at Woodbine on Aug. 23. Mike Rutherford’s American Monarch, a son of 2015 Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner American Pharoah, and Peter Brant, Robert LaPenta and Woodford Racing’s Secret Potion, 1-2 finishers in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Saratoga on Aug. 8, also have been entered.
The 1-mile Natalma, figures to be wide open, with Charles Fipke’s Lady Speightspeare, an impressive debut winner over the turf on Aug. 22 for trainer Roger Attfield, eliciting the most promise. Also of interest are the first two finishers in the Aug. 23 Catch a Glimpse Stakes at Woodbine, where Wertheimer and Frere’s Alda, trained by Graham Motion, defeated Hoolie Racing Stable’s Dreaming of Drew, trained by Minshall, by a nose.
ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, will be held on November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky and features a total of $31 million in purses and awards. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Royal Ascot, and Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.
ABOUT AMERICA’S BEST RACINGAmerica’s Best Racing is a multimedia fan development and awareness-building platform designed to increase the profile and visibility of North America’s best Thoroughbred racing events with a primary focus on the sport’s lifestyle and competition. You can follow America’s Best Racing at americasbestracing.net as well as on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.