Joshua Tree regains Canadian International crown
Joshua Tree carved out fractions of :25 2/5, :51 2/5, 1:17, 1:43 and 2:07 2/5 on the good turf, with Air Support lapped onto him. Down the lengthy homestretch, Dettori asked Joshua Tree, and the response was forthcoming. Joshua Tree lengthened stride, shrugged off Air Support, and pulled two lengths clear.
Inside the final furlong, fellow English shipper Dandino uncorked a bold move on the outside to threaten, and locally-based Forte dei Marmi also finished with interest, but they came too late.
"It's the best turf track in North America, so for us Europeans it makes life a lot easier, but also you need the horse that answers every call and he did for me. I was able to set my own fractions, but when I asked him to pick up, he did. He fought right to the line.
"I rode him last time. He was third in a good race in France (the Group 2 Prix Foy) and this was always the target. He's won it before and was second last year. He is a super horse and loves this track. Who knows? He might even be back next year."
"It was always the plan (to bring him back to Woodbine one more time)," said Lucie Botti, the trainer's wife and assistant, "and we are delighted for him that he won for us. He is a great horse to us, very consistent. He's just a superstar for us."
The son of Montjeu made it three straight Canadian International wins for his late sire, who was also responsible for 2011 upsetter Sarah Lynx.
Al Khali was scratched because of the rain-softened ground, and Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott indicated that he could be rerouted to the Breeders' Cup Turf.
With this second major international prize to his credit, Joshua Tree's scorecard stands at 24-6-6-3, $3,160,662.
Joshua Tree was coming off a third in the September 16 Prix Foy at Longchamp to Japanese superstar Orfevre, who was just caught in last Sunday's Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Two starts back, Joshua Tree landed the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay in August at Deauville, defeating subsequent Australian Group 2 victor Shahwardi. His 2012 highlight reel also includes placings in the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket and the Group 3 Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night at Meydan.
Originally part of the Coolmore empire and trained by O'Brien, Joshua Tree captured the Group 2 Royal Lodge as a juvenile in 2009. During his abbreviated three-year-old campaign in 2010, he finished third in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur and fifth in the Group 1 St Leger before grinding out a game victory by a head in the Canadian International.
In early 2011, Joshua Tree took up residence in Qatar for his new connections. He won once from four starts, taking the Qatar International Cup. The handsome bay was transferred to Botti that summer. A distant third to eventual Arc queen Danedream in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden, he played second fiddle to Sarah Lynx here in his seasonal finale.
Bred by Castlemartin Stud and Skymarc Farm in Ireland, Joshua Tree commanded $659,458 from Demi O'Byrne as a Tattersalls October yearling. The six-year-old was produced by Grade 3 heroine Madeira Mist, a daughter of Grand Lodge, who is herself a half-sister to multiple Group 3-placed stakes victress Misty Heights.
Joshua Tree's third dam is Group 1 Coronation winner Magic of Life, the dam of Group 2 queen Enthused and granddam of Group 3 scorer Norman Invader. Magic of Life also appears as the ancestress of Group 1-placed Nova Hawk, most recently successful in the Group 3 Premio Sergio Cumani; Japanese classic-placed stakes winner Chunyi; and Energizer, hero of the Group 3 Tercentenary at Royal Ascot this June.
Further back, this is the family of multiple Grade 1-winning millionaires Miss Oceana and Sabin.
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