Grade 1 Canadian
International which will be run on Saturday, October 13, at a distance
of a mile and a half on the unique E. P. Taylor turf course, which is
twelve-furlongs and is located closest to the grandstand outside of the main
American trainer Tim Glyshaw broke a streak of seven European victories when
his 42-1 longshot Bullard’s Alley
ran off to win by more than 10 lengths.
After so many
years, the International still may be best known as the race where Secretariat made
the final start of his career. On a cold, snowy, and foggy day Big Red drew off
to an easy 6 ½ length victory.
Here is the
field of 11 for the Canadian International with projected odds by Horse Racing
Markitoff [ML 50-1
– Giant’s Causeway – M.
Maker/I. Ortiz Jr. –
18: 2-2-2 – $150,668] This Mike Maker runner has not won a race since January
when he took an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. Since then he has toiled in
graded stakes as well as allowances. Most recently he ran fourth in the
Northern Dancer. Taking yet another shot at a graded stakes.
Thundering Blue [ML 8-5
– Exchange Rate – D.
Menuisier/F. Berry – 20: 6-3-4 – $473,205] This son of Exchange Rate is a
Kentucky-bred who has been racing in Europe in the top group races. Last out he
won a Group 3 in the Sweden, but more impressive are a third in the Juddmonte
International (G1) behind Roaring Lion and Poet’s World and a win in the York
(G2). A repeat of any of his last three efforts would make him hard to beat. Racing
well against the best in Europe.
Khan (GER) [ML 30-1
– Santiago (GER) – H.
14: 2-1-2 – $156,602] This German-bred won his last race in a Group 1 stakes in
Germany at the odds of 20-1, which was the biggest victory of his career. He
has carried 132 pounds in his last four starts. His regular German jockey will
make the trip over to Canada to ride. This has to be a big class challenge off
that recent win. A German Group 1 winner.
Funtastic [ML 15-1
– More Than Ready – C.
Brown/J. Velazquez – 10: 4-2-1 – $409,943] Funtastic was the 23-1 front running
upset winner of the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park when he was one of
four entered in the race for Chad Brown. He came back to run seventh in the
Sword Dancer (G1). His best performances came when he was on the lead. Won the
United Nations (G1) on the lead.
Tiz a Slam [ML 10-1
– Tiznow – R. Attfield/S.
20: 6-3-1 – $843,200] Local trainer Roger Attfield sends Tiz a Slam into the
International, which is a race that Hall of Fame conditioner looks to win for
the first time. The son of Tiznow prefers to run on the lead where he should
battle with Funtastic. He has been competing in graded company at Woodbine all
summer with two wins and a second. Last time, he faded to sixth in the Northern
Dancer. Will help ensure an honest early pace.
– Quality Road – G. Motion/E.
12: 6-3-1 – $960,797] In his best form in his first two starts of the year,
Spring Quality followed a second-place finish in the Fort Marcy behind Robert
Bruce with an 18-1 victory in the Manhattan (G1) on the Belmont Stakes
undercard. Since then, he ran third in the Sword Dancer and then a disappointing
last place run in the Turf Classic. Hard to know what to expect in here. On
his best, he can win this race.
Illusion [ML 10-1 – English Channel – S. Pion/R. Hernandez –
27: 4-2-6 – $343,987] This one is Woodbine based where he won four times
including in the Halton Stakes where he beat Johnny Bear, who would win the
Northern Dancer (G1) two weeks later turning the tables on English Illusion.
The connections claimed this horse for $25,000 right before the Halton. Ran
two big races right after being claimed.
Bandua [ML 30-1
– The Factor – J.
Sisterson/Beschizza – 6: 2-0-1 – $81,226] – Former Doug O’Neill assistant, Jack
Sisterson brings this 3-year-old to Woodbine to face older horses for the first
time. The Calumet Farms runner ran his first four races in Ireland and then
debuted in America with a third in the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington Park. At
Kentucky Downs he ran fourth in the Dueling Ground Derby. Faces older horses for the first
Johnny Bear [ML 5-1
– English Channel – A.
Brnjas/L. Contreras – 40: 8-8-6 – $859,208] This 7-year-old is a Woodbine
mainstay with at record on the Toronto track of 33: 6-8-4 which includes the
Northern Dancer (G1) then past two years. Johnny Bear got a perfect ground
saving trip this year. In 2017, he came up empty in the International on the
heels of his big win in the Northern Dancer. Woodbine veteran won the Northern
Encounter (IRE) [ML 6-1 – Halling – D. Simcock/Atzeni – 22: 7-4-5 -
$388,789] This Irish-bred comes across the pond to run in the International. He
won a minor stake in England in August after facing big names like Poet’s World,
Cracksman, and Enable. Has faced some of Europe’s best.
Focus Group [ML 7-2
– Kitten’s Joy – C.
Brown/J. Ortiz –
10: 4-0-2 – $227,940] Focus Group is one of two from the Chad Brown barn. He
won his last two starts which includes the Johns Call going a mile and five-eighths
at Saratoga. Jose Ortiz keeps the mount for this big race which is certainly a
good sign. Comes to Canada off his first stakes win at Saratoga.
Summary: European runner Thundering Blue looms
the horse to beat in the Canadian International. He has noteworthy past
performances against the best runners in Europe. On class alone he has a big
advantage over this field.
Tiz a Slam
and Funtastic ensure that there will be an honest pace as they both have had
their best performances while racing on the lead. Funtastic won the United Nations
at Monmouth Park and Tiz a Slam has graded stakes wins at Woodbine from the front.
Blue, Focus Group, Desert Encounter, Johnny Bear, and English Illusion will
have an ideal set-up for their closing moves and should be the ones battling
for the top spots at the wire.