Jockey Velazquez earns record fifth Ricoh Woodbine Mile victory

Jockey Velazquez earns record fifth Ricoh Woodbine Mile victory”

The entire field covered less than eight lengths down the backstretch, with the majority packed in just behind World Approval near the front.

Mess with the 5-year-old gelding long enough and - as his human companions attest - there will often be some harsh consequences.

World Approval, a six-year-old son of Northern Afleet, had been to Woodbine before, finishing third in last year's Northern Dancer Turf before ending eighth in the Canadian International. "And he's just such a competitor", Weber said.

With his notorious attitude on point and his form as good as it's been, World Approval chose to have a little fun with those trying to push him around in Saturday's Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes. World Approval and John Velazquez took the lead out of the starting gate, handled significant pace pressure and drew away down the lane for a three-length win. Trainer Mark Casse won the Woodbine Mile a year ago with Tepin, who went on to win the Eclipse Award as Top Turf Female.

Leave it to one his barn's more ornery residents to make one of the day's more challenging tasks look easy.

It was the fifth Woodbine Mile win in 8 career starts for Velazquez, who was riding World Approval for the first time. The multiple Sovereign Award-winning trainer will point World Approval to the Breeders' Cup Mile after securing the "Win and You're In" victory. I've said all along that I think he wants a target. "I think he's good right now".

The remainder of the field, in order of finish, was: Mondialiste; Arod; Dutch Connection; Conquest Panthera; Tower of Texas; Glenville Gardens; Best Bard; Deauville; and Dragon Bay. "I just kind of left him there and he held on very well". "At the quarter pole, I asked him to run, and he responded right away, and got away from the horses pretty easily".

"It's a nice feeling when you feel the horse get down and start stretching out like that". Jockey Joel Rosario aboard third-place finisher Long On Value, who went off at almost 10-1, got caught outside which sunk his chances to catch the victor. Mondialiste, victor of the 2015 Woodbine Mile, came up for fourth.

"I wasn't sure who the speed would be", added Velazquez.

With career stats of 23: 10-2-4 and earnings of $1,887,363, World Approval has stepped up to lead the American turf horses against some of Europe's best milers in the Breeders' Cup. He never weathered a challenge from the 11 other horses, cruising home to a 2 1/2-length win and a berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Del Mar.

"As long as he's healthy, we're on to the Breeders' Cup", Casse said.

Johnny Bear's win in the Northern Dancer was also the first victory in a graded stake for trainer Ashlee Brnjas.

She watched the veteran gelding she affectionately says looked like "a marshmallow" when he was a yearling run down a Group 1 victor in the Woodbine stretch. On Saturday, he became a Grade 1 victor. With his victory in the Fourstardave at Saratoga this summer, the home bred son of Northern Afleet is now a flawless two for two going a mile on the turf.

"I hope so", he said. "I literally didn't sleep for the last three days knowing I was running in a Grade 1".

And Quidura, the English-bred 2/5 favourite, captured the $250,000 Grade II Canadian Stakes, winning the 1 1/8-mile turf event in 1:45.26.

"Coming up just a head short, O'Donoghue told "(Hawkbill) travelled well and moved great. Elysea's World finished second ahead of Starship Jubilee.

"I thought the race was run really steady for my horse", Lordan said.

"Am I confident we can win?" When I got to the turn, I dropped in.

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