The 18th edition of the prestigious Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile turned out to be lucky number seven for Trade Storm, a six-year-old son of Trade Fair, whose first win of the campaign was a million-dollar effort. Bred by G.T. Lucas, Trade Storm, who was winless in six starts heading into the Mile, rallied strongly in the late stages to take the Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ event, on Sept. 14, at Woodbine. Under Jamie Spencer, the Qatar Racing silk-bearer won by a half-length, in yet another thrilling renewal of the turf classic.
The victory delivered Spencer his first Mile triumph, and Trade Storm, who finished third to grass titan Wise Dan in
last year’s running, his sixth career victory from 34 starts. The win also capped a perfect day for conditioner David Simcock, who earlier on the card won the $300,000 Grade 1 Northern Dancer with Sheikhzayedroad, who was making his North American debut.
‘He settled well off a strong pace,’ said Spencer, of Trade Storm. ‘I felt confidence in the horse that he was always going to pick up. I’ve ridden the horse for the last 18 months. Sheikh Fahad picked him out himself when he won in Dubai one night and bought him. He is reaping dividends now and he’s won quite a bit of prize money in the last two years.’
The absence of Wise Dan was a welcome relief.
‘Obviously, the ground was a little softer than ideal for him, but we didn’t have Wise Dan to contend with. So, it looked a good spot for him,’ Spence said. ‘The trainer, he’s brought two horses here and both of them have won. It’s a happy ending.’
The well-traveled British-bred still has some miles to go. He’ll head to the Golden State to contest the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile, Nov. 1, at Santa Anita, since his victory earned his connections an all-expenses paid (travel and entry fees) trip.
Bobby’s Kitten, the only three-year-old in the field of 11, took command, while being hounded by longshot Ancil, through a quarter in :23.97, a half in :47.52 and six panels in 1:12.27. Jockey Joel Rosario still had Bobby’s Kitten in front at the eighth pole, but sneaking up the fence was Trade Storm, who had been confidently and patiently placed in ninth on the rail for most of the journey.
Still, Spencer and Trade Storm had work to do. The duo found themselves behind a wall of rivals heading for home, first looking to go outside, before choosing an inside path to launch their bid. Trade Storm was then angled outside the leader late down the long E.P. Taylor Turf Course, assuming the lead inside the sixteenth pole and fighting off a bid by Kaigun and jockey Patrick Husbands for the exciting win. Bobby’s Kitten was a length and three quarters further back in third, and a head in front of fourth-place finisher River Seven, with Grand Arch fifth.
‘That’s special, that one,’ said Simcock. ‘I mean they’re both special, but he’s really one of my favourites of all time out of all the horses I’ve trained. It’s been frustrating with him sometimes, but even when he gets beat, I adore the horse massively, so it’s a really special result. I think it is special for the jockey as well.
‘He’ll probably go down to Santa Anita and enjoy himself and see how we get on. He’ll get his fast ground, which suits
a fairly strong pace. It will probably be a tougher race, but he is in excellent order and he never disgraces himself. When there’s a lot of pace into the race, he travels very strongly into it and he’s got a nice pick up. All he needed was the gaps and he maneuvered his way through.’
It was a coveted result for Spencer, his first Mile score after two previous heartbreaking misses. He finished second aboard Arkadian Hero, a nose behind winner Riviera, in the 2000 edition after being left at the gate and spotting the field some eight lengths. In 2011, he rode Dance And Dance to a troubled sixth-place finish, beaten less than two lengths by Turallure. Trade Storm, who earned $600,000 for the win, paid $11.10, $6.20 and $4.40.
He wasn’t the only winner on the day: the mutuel handle was a record $7,004,235 for the Ricoh Woodbine Mile card.