Master of The Seas passed his first North American test on Saturday. Now he can start getting ready for an even bigger exam.
The five-year-old gelding made all the right moves and cruised to an easy wins in the $1 million Woodbine Mile. Now he has a ‘win-and-you’re-in’ ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita. Last year, trainer Charlie Appleby used the Woodbine Mile as a tuneup for Modern Games, who went on to Breeders’ Cup success.
Ridden by William Buick, Master of The Seas started a step slower than his five rivals but was unhurried. Buick eased him to the outside at the top of the turn and gradually got into contention. In the stretch, he grinded away until he got to the lead mid-stretch and pulled away to a four-length win. Shirl’s Speight also stayed near the back before making a strong move to end second.
“He usually breaks pretty fast,” Buick said. “For some reason he didn’t today.”
“But there weren’t that many runners and the pace was even. He’s always got a good turn of foot and it was just my job to navigate a passage for him really,”
Buick has ridden Master of The Seas in most of his races but he watched the job James Doyle did when winning the Summer Mile at Ascot in July. That run gave Buick the confidence he needed here.
“He’s pretty high-maintenance but everyone has done a great job with him,” Buick said. “When he won at Ascot last time, he showed he’s getting back to his best form.”
An Irish-bred son of Dubawi, Master of The Seas now has seven wins in 14 starts. He was actually without a Grade 1 or Group 1 win before Saturday, though he did distinguish himself two years ago when nearly winning the English 2000 Guineas.
Alex Merriam, assistant trainer to Appleby, agreed the horse does need a bit more care but he did show in two starts in Dubai over the winter that he travels well.
“He’s lightly-raced. He’s not always straightforward,” he said. “But he’s been very relaxed over here and he’s been professional and we’ve seen the result of that.”
Merriam said Master of The Seas will be taken back to his English base for examination and if the horse is in good order by late-October, a trip to California is in the cards.
Shirl’s Speight could be in for a return visit to the Breeders’ Cup after his run. The Roger Attfield trainee was second in racing’s championship event last year.
Lucky Score, one of three runners for trainer Mark Casse, finished third. War Bomber, Ice Chocolat, and My Sea Cottage rounded out the finish order.
Carson’s Run is a young horse, and a bit antisocial. But does he have a turn of foot. The Christophe Clement-trained runner earned his way to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf with a win in the $500,000 Summer Stakes.
Ridden by Dylan Davis, Carson’s Run was taken to the back of the nine-horse field at the start of the one-mile race while favored My Boy Prince led the field. Around the turn, Davis took his mount about 10 paths wide but gained enough momentum to sweep by the field to score at odds of 3-1.
Carson’s Run came into the race off two starts at Saratoga, winning his maiden race before finishing second in the With Anticipation Stakes.
“In his last start, he got intimidated being between horses,” Davis said. “Today, we wanted to take the outside route with him. We saved all the ground going into the turn and I was able to use that ground towards the end and he got it done.”
She Feels Pretty earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf after a decisive win in the $500,000 Natalma Stakes.
Ridden by John Velazquez, She Feels Pretty raced comfortably in mid-pack early in the one-mile race. She was taken to the four-path at the top of the stretch and just took off, getting to the lead with just over a furlong left and cruised to a four-length win.
“I was really confident,” Velazquez said. “When she got into the clear, the ears went up and I was like: ‘Wow, look at this …’
“When I asked her to do something, the way she did it was very impressive.”
Giving trainer Cherie DeVaux her first victory in a Grade 1 race, She Feels Pretty came into the race having made just one previous start, a maiden win at Ellis Park.
Master of the Seas leading threat at Woodbine Mile
Velocitor wins Prince of Wales Stakes, Paramount Prince third
FAST AND TOUGH
We knew Patches O’Houlihan was quick. But in the $150,000 Vigil Stakes, he found a way to win when everyone thought he may have been beat.
The Bob Tiller-trained three-year-old battled for most of the six-furlong race with Rockcrest and it looked like that one had got the upper hand. But in mid-stretch, Patches O’Houlihan found a second win and jockey Daisuke Fukumoto urged him to the wire before a couple of late closers could spoil the party.
Patches O’Houlihan has been a local superstar this year, winning all six of his starts this year including four stakes. He is seven for eight overall.