where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2023-09-17 10:10:55  
Master Appleby Takes Canada's big Mile

Irish-bred Master of The Seas, a 5-year-old son of Dubawi (IRE)-Firth of Lorne (IRE), was dominant in victory in Saturday’s $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1T), part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” program.

Trained by Charles Appleby for owner-breeder Godolphin, the bay gelding, under William Buick, made it two straight Mile triumphs for the trio, who teamed to take last year’s running of the turf classic with the now retired, multiple graded stakes winner, Modern Games (IRE).

On a picture-perfect day at Woodbine, Master of The Seas was every bit as impressive in earning his first Grade 1 crown.

My Sea Cottage (IRE), one of three (Ice Chocolat (BRZ) and Lucky Score were the other two) Mark Casse trainees, accelerated to the front in the field of six, followed by Ice Chocolat, War Bomber (IRE), Lucky Score, Shirl’s Speight, and an unhurried Master of The Seas, who hugged the hedge through an opening quarter of :23.68 over a “good” E.P. Taylor turf.

It was My Sea Cottage who continued to set the tempo, a half-length clear of War Bomber after a half in :47.32, as Buick continued to maintain a patient hand on Master of The Seas.

Buick then wheeled the 2-5 choice to the outside and the pair began to methodically pick off their rivals as the field navigated the turn for home. Full of run as the field straightened for the long stretch drive, Master of The Seas, now six- to seven-wide, roared to the lead mid-stretch and then kicked away with ease to notch a 3 ¾-length victory. Shirl’s Speight rallied to finish second, a neck in front of Lucky Score.

War Bomber, Ice Chocolat and My Sea Cottage rounded out the order of finish.

The final time was 1:33.79.

“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 2-year-old form. I thought what he did earlier, he really showed how good he is.

With Saturday’s win, Master of The Seas, now 7-2-2 from 14 starts, earns a fees-paid berth to run in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on November 4, with a chance to duplicate Modern Games’ Woodbine Mile-Breeders’ Cup Mile double.

“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.”


Image Michael Burns

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