Multiple grade I winner Court Vision , overlooked at odds of 7-1, soared past The Usual Q. T. in deep stretch to capture the $972,704 Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) by 1 1/4 lengths at the Toronto track Sept. 19 (VIDEO).
With Robby Albarado aboard, Court Vision angled to the outside for the drive and collared The Usual Q. T., who had rallied to get the lead mid-stretch but could not hold on in the final strides.
The 5-year-old son of Gulch returned to the winner's circle for the first time since he was placed first through disqualification in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) in February.
Rick Dutrow Jr., who trains Court Vision for IEAH Stables and Resolute Group Stables, said Court Vision would return to Churchill Downs Nov. 6 for the $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). Court Vision, who earned a starting berth with his Woodbine Mile victory, finished fourth in last year's BC Mile at Santa Anita.
"This is his game. He showed up," Dutrow said afterward, crediting the cool weather for Court Vision's upset win. Court Vision last raced June 5, finishing sixth in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.
Court Vision, 7-2 on the morning line, went over the $2 million mark in career earnings. He completed the one-turn mile in 1:34.62 over a firm turf course.
Woodbourne finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind The Usual Q. T., and a nose better than the late-running Crowded House in fourth. Favored Famous Name (5-2) finished seventh in the 13-horse field.
Neither Court Vision nor second choice The Usual Q. T., ridden by Victor Espinoza, were factors early as Straight Story showed early in the big field to get the advantage over Zifzaf and Grand Adventure through an opening quarter-mile of :23.55. Zifzaf took the lead midway on the backstretch but was under pressure from local hopes Grand Adventure and Smokey Fire to hold it through a half-mile in :46.53.
Grand Adventure launched his bid on the turn to lead by a head with a quarter-mile to run after six furlongs in 1:10.36. But after vying into the stretch, he tired as well as The Usual Q. T., rallying from eighth while wide on the turn, charged gamely to take the lead from Zifzaf and Woodbourne approaching mid-stretch.
Court Vision, 12th at the midway point, had advanced on the turn along the inside and was moving well. He was bottled up briefly after angling out in upper stretch, however. Albarado took him wider still near mid-stretch when they were a fast-approaching fifth. The Usual Q. T. had a clear edge in the final sixteenth but he ran out of steam late as Court Vision swept past to win under a hand ride.
"He ran an awful nice race today," said Albarado, who returned to riding Sept. 18 after recovering from a separated clavicle sustained in early August at Saratoga. "Court Vision is such a cool horse to ride. We were both coming off a long layoff but it worked out well for us. I just wanted him to settle in early. I know he's been off awhile but he was training forwardly at Saratoga this summer. You give him a good trip, he's going to come home and he did."
"He runs over a lot of different surfaces and he's professional about them all. (Trainer Rick) Dutrow did a great job getting him ready for today."
Woodbourne, ridden by Chantal Sutherland at 52-1 odds, turned in a big effort to be third. Crowded House was followed a neck back by Zifazaf. Then came Smokey Fire, Famous Name, Grand Adventure, Victor's Cry , Riviera Cocktail, Auteur, Signature Red, and Straight Story.
Court Vision, who began his racing career with trainer Bill Mott, also has grade I victories in the 2008 Hollywood Derby and last year's Shadwell Turf Mile. He won for the eighth time in 24 lifetime starts. All three of his wins in 12 starts over the past two years have come in grade I races. Court Vision earned $581,760 for the Woodbine Mile victory, shooting his career total to $2,531,521.
"I was pretty confident he was going to run a big race," said Dutrow. "He had been training really good and he comes off a freshening pretty good. So we felt confident that he was going to show up. He really showed up the right way today. We're really excited right now. We thought, if he can take to this course and the one-turn mile, we're going to be in good shape. And that's exactly what happened. Robby gave him an unbelievable ride, too."
Bred by W. S. Farish and Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnership, the winning dark bay/brown horse is out of the Storm Bird mare Weekend Storm.
One of three horses in the field toting top weight of 124 pounds, Court Vision went off as the fourth choice and paid $16.60, $7.60, and $5.40 and topped a $77.40 exacta. The Usual Q. T., winner of the Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT) at Del Mar this summer for trainer James Cassidy, returned $4.50 and $4.50. He also carried 124 pounds. Woodbourne was $14.50 to show.