He’s described as ‘high maintenance’ and ‘not the most forward’ horse but MASTER OF THE SEAS (Ire) easily flew by five rivals in Saturday’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1), earning a berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita in November. The Godolphin homebred by Dubawi (Ire) – Firth of Lorne (Ire) by Danehill was the eighth straight Grade 1 winner in North America for trainer Charlie Appleby.

Oh, and just 30 minutes earlier, Appleby trainee Eternal Hope won the Grade 3 Jockey Club Oaks at ‘Belmont at Aqueduct’.

Master of the Seas was sent off at 2-to-5 in the Woodbine Mile, seeking to duplicate his stablemate Modern Games’ easy win in the Mile a year ago before going on to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

With little pace in the race, Master of the Seas galloped along in last early in the event while My Sea Cottage, one of three starters for trainer Mark Casse, set the pace.

With Bruno Schickedanz’s War Bomber in hot pursuit, My Sea Cottage slipped back late on the turn for home while Charles Fipke’s Shirl’s Speight and Master of the Seas got into gear from back in the pack.

“He usually breaks pretty fast, for one reason or another he didn’t today,” noted Buick. “But there weren’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. He is pretty high maintenance, but everyone at home has done a great job with him. I thought today he was much more the finished article. When he won at Ascot last time (a four-length win in the Group 2 Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes on July 15), you sort of sensed he was showing his best and getting back to his best form. He had some really good two-year-old form. I thought what he did earlier, he really showed how good he is.”

Master of the Seas won by 3 3/4 lengths and it could have been a bit more. Shirl’s Speight tried hard in his second-place finish and the lone Ontario-bred, Lucky Score, finished third. The winner’s time for the one mile on turf was 1:33.74.

“He’s a horse that is pretty lightly raced and he’s not the most straight forward, but the team over here has done a great job with him,” said assistant trainer Alex Merriam. “He has been very relaxed over here and settled in well. We see the result of that. He is professional and he’s done it nicely. He will ship home. Then see how he comes out of the race and see how he is at the end of October. Hopefully if he is well, maybe go back to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Master of the Seas was winning for the 7th time in 14 races and his earnings now total over $1.1 million.