Homecoming for Arravale in Canadian Stakes

(from Woodbine report)
After a lucrative summer in Southern California, Robert Costigan's Arravale makes her homecoming in the $300,000 Canadian Stakes (Can-II) on Sunday's Woodbine Mile card.

She'll lead a field of six fillies and mares in the 1 1/8-mile turf event at the Toronto track.

Trained by Mac Benson, Arravale finished a gallant third in the 1 ¼-mile American Oaks (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park on July 2.
The result exceeded the expectations of her trainer, who was concerned the Arch filly wouldn't be ready for the 10-furlong event off just one start -- a stylish victory in Woodbine's Alywow Stakes at just 6 ½ furlongs on June 11.

Arravale returned to California for her next start, the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT), a race in which Benson was infinitely more optimistic about her chances.

With jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. in the irons for the first time, Arravale settled nicely along the inside, angled between rivals at the top of the stretch and rallied decisively for a 1 ½-length score in the 1 1/8-mile race.

"She couldn't have done it any better. We are so pleased with her. It was a tremendous thing to ship all the way out there and make the adjustment. I was as pleased as punch with her," said Benson.

Valdivia will be in the irons again Sunday.

In preparation for Sunday's 1 1/8-mile event, Arravale breezed five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course on Sept. 11.

Arravale will face older fillies and mares for the first time in the Canadian.

Among her older rivals is last year's top female turfer, Ambitious Cat, who notched her first stakes win in this year's Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine.

German-bred Almerita, who is trained by Waldemar Hickst, has journeyed to Canada from her homeland. The consistent bay daughter of Medicean has three wins, three seconds and a third-place finish from seven career starts.

On June 4, she won the group I Preis der Diana (German Oaks) at Dusseldorf by a neck, earning a Timeform Rating of 110. Darryl Holland was in the irons for the win and is scheduled to ride her Sunday. Most recently, she finished third in the Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (Ger-I) to 3-year-old colt Lord of England.

Rounding out the field for the Canadian are Elle Runaway, last year's Ontario Colleen winner, Belle Geste winner Velvet Snow and Matchmaker champ Ready's Gal.

The Canadian Stakes is slated for race three on Sunday's Woodbine Mile program, which also features the Summer Stakes (Can-III), a turf event for 2-year-olds.

$300,000 Canadian Stakes (Can-II, Race 3, 2:04 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Elle Runaway (KY), Justin Stein, 115, 8/1
2. Velvet Snow (ON), Corey Fraser, 113, 10/1
3. Ready's Gal (KY), Ramon A. Dominguez, 119, 7/2
4. Almerita (GER), Darryll Holland, 119, 9/2
5. Arravale (KY), Jose Valdivia, Jr., 119, 2/1
6. Ambitious Cat (KY), Todd Kabel, 121, 5/2