The flowers from the Queen’s Plate blanket worn by MIGHTY HEART on Saturday have barely settled as Woodbine Racetrack gets ready for its second $1 million race, the RICOH WOODBINE MILE (G1) on Sept. 19. The Mile, a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, will be followed on Sunday by two other WAYI Breeders’ Cup events, the Natalma Stakes and Summer Stakes for 2-year-olds, both Grade 1 events also at one mile on the turf.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the race as far as number of nominations and probable invaders, Woodbine’s favourite friend, trainer Mark Casse, has sent Preakness Stakes (G1) and Maker’s Mark Mile (GI) winner WAR OF WILL for the race. The colt arrived Sept. 13.
He’s been working at Churchill Downs since June, breezing a bullet five furlongs in 59.20 on Sept. 5 and 4 furlongs in a flat 49 seconds on Friday, ranking 33rd out of 62 at the distance.
WAR OF WILL, by War Front, began his career at Woodbine for Casse and owner Gary Barber, finishing 3rd in a maiden race and 2nd in the Summer Stakes two years ago. The colt had that troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby in the slop before taking the Preakness. The Maker’s Mark Mile, his second attempt on the grass, was his first win since the Preakness.
RAFAEL HERNANDEZ is expected to ride War of Will, a winner of 5 of 16 races and $1.7 million, in the Woodbine Mile.
There may not be many challengers to War of Will, but one of them is another Casse trainee, the sturdy March to the Arch, winner of the King Edward Stakes at Woodbine recently for Live Oak Plantation. Other possible starters include Silent Poet and Admiralty Pier.