Juddmonte Farms' stellar 5-year-old mare Ventura will take another crack at the boys on Sept. 20 when she does battle with a probable field of 11 in the $1-million Woodbine Mile (Can-IT).
In last year's edition, the daughter of Chester House--Estala, by Be My Guest, finished second by 1 1/4 lengths to locally-based Rahy's Attorney before going on to win the inaugural Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita. Rahy’s Attorney will also be back to defend his title in the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" event.
This year, Ventura has won one of her three starts for trainer Bobby Frankel, taking the Santa Monica (gr. I) at Santa Anita in January. She lost photos in the other two, both to pretty good horses. The millionaire mare was beaten by leading older turf horse Gio Ponti in the Frank Kilroe Mile (gr. I) in March, and to recent Presque Isle Downs Masters (gr. IIIT) winner Informed Decision in the Madison (gr. I) at Keeneland in April.
“We considered a couple of races for the summer, but then, when that didn't work out, we just decided to back off her, give her a couple of months off," said Garrett O'Rourke, Juddmonte Farms’ manager in Lexington.
“She's been back to work for the last six weeks. I saw her (recently) in Saratoga and she looks absolutely magnificent. She needs seven furlongs or a one-turn mile, but there just wasn't that much opportunity, so we decided to skip everything and just aim for this race and the Breeders' Cup.”
Ventura readied for the race with a razor sharp five-furlong move in :59 3/5, handily, over the Woodbine Polytrack Sept. 14.
Frankel has won two previous Woodbine Miles, with Riviera in 2000 and Leroidesanimaux in 2005. Garrett Gomez, who will ride Ventura, is the field's leading money winner with over $1.6 million. He took the 2007 Woodbine Mile with favored Shakespeare.
Other probables for the Mile include Bribon, Daylight Express, Ferneley, Field Commission, Grand Adventure, Ice Bear, Jungle Wave, Rahy’s Attorney, Sand Cove, and Sterwins. Entries will be drawn Sept. 17.