Woodbine Mile Predictions, Expert Picks, Odds

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Set Piece (7/2)

Woodbine Mile Predictions, Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the Woodbine Mile at Woodbine!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 TOWN CRUISE 10/1
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D Fukumoto B Greer
2 OLYMPIC RUNNER 5/1
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R Hernandez M Casse
3 MARCH TO THE ARCH 5/1
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P Husbands M Casse
4 RIDE A COMET 8/1
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A Gallardo M Casse
5 SET PIECE 7/2
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J Rosario B Cox
6 CHANGE OF CONTROL 20/1
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C Hernandez M Lovell
7 RAGING BULL 3/1
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L Dettori C Brown
8 AVIE’S FLATTER 12/1
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L Contreras J Carroll
9 DUKE OF HAZZARD 20/1
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K Kimura P Cole
10 SPACE TRAVELLER 10/1
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D Tudhope B Walsh

Multiple Grade 1 winner Raging Bull rates top billing, but is only one of several live contenders in a wide-open edition of Saturday’s Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on the E.P Taylor turf course.

Victorious in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland in April, the 6-year-old son of Dark Angel returns to Woodbine for the first time since finishing a fast-closing and troubled fourth in the 2019 edition of the $1 million race. Trained by Chad Brown, he comes in off a disappointing sixth as the even-money favorite in the Grade 1 Fourstardave at Saratoga.

Set Piece did better in that race, finishing a rallying second in the Fourstardave. Before that the Brad Cox-trained son of Dansili had won three straight stakes races at Churchill Downs, including the Grade 2 Wise Dan.

Among the other top challengers in the 25th edition of the Woodbine Mile include a talented trio from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse. In March to the Arch, Olympic Runner, and Ride a Comet, he sends out three serious contenders, who are all graded stakes winners at Woodbine.

As part of the Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ Challenge Series, the Woodbine Mile winner will earn an all-expenses berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile, to be run on November 6 at Del Mar.

Best Bets for the Woodbine Mile

Here are my plays ($45 in total)

$10 Exacta part wheel – Set Piece over Raging Bull, Town Cruise, and Olympic Runner = $30

$5 Exacta part wheel – Raging Bull, Town Cruise, and Olympic Runner over Set Piece = $15

Top Pick:

Set Piece (7/2)

Race Analysis

Raging Bull

With a Grade 1 win earlier in the year in the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland, this one shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 6 for trainer Chad Brown. Having said that, he has only found the winner’s circle in 2 of his last 13 starts, so he’ll need to have racing luck to uncork his powerful turn of foot in time to get up at the one-mile trip. It seems simple enough, but he seems to be a horse who has found plenty of trouble over the years. He may have won this race two years ago with a better trip. Having the great Frankie Dettori in the saddle shouldn’t hurt. As usual, he is one of the main contenders.

Set Piece

This English-bred gelding comes to Woodbine in the best form of his career, having won three consecutive stakes races before finishing second last time in the Grade 1 Fourstardave at Saratoga. Two starts back he blew by some solid competition late to get up in the Grade 2 Wise Dan at Churchill Downs. Like many in the race, he does his best racing in the stretch. It will be up to one of the best in the business in jockey Joel Rosario to find the trip to clear sailing in the stretch. As well as he is going of late, I think the pair will find a way to the wire. In a race with many good options, I like his chances. He is the top pick.

Olympic Runner

The first of three from the barn of trainer Mark Casse, this one became a serious threat for this year’s $1 million Woodbine Mile when he upset his stablemate March to the Arch and six others in last month’s Grade 2 King Edward at Woodbine. A repeat of that performance certainly puts the 5-year-old son of Gio Ponti in with a shot on Saturday. Before the win, he displayed his liking for the local turf course by finishing a fast-closing second by a neck to Avie’s Flatter in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup. Able to stay a little closer to the pace than most of the closers in here, his recent form makes him a big threat in his most important race yet.

March to the Arch

The second from Casse, this gelding joins Raging Bull as the only two millionaires in the field. He scored his sixth stakes victory of his career in a romping victory in the Niagara Stakes over the Woodbine turf two starts back, before running late to finish third as the favorite in the King Edward Stakes most recently. Last year he rallied to finish second in the Woodbine Mile to the nice mare Starship Jubilee. Like Raging Bull, he doesn’t always get there, but he almost always finishes fast. With a little racing luck, he’s a threat to win, and a good bet to hit the board.

Ride a Comet

The third in a row from Casse, this one has performed well after a layoff of better than two years. He returned last October and promptly won three straight, the first two coming on the Woodbine all-weather track. The 6-year-old son of Candy Ride scored a Grade 3 stakes win at Gulfstream to begin the year, but has lost his last four. Most recently, he finished third behind Set Piece in the Wise Dan. A stakes winner over the Woodbine turf course, he is another threat in here, but his recent form has me liking others better.

Space Traveller

This English-bred son of Bated Breath has made most of his 20 career starts in Europe but has run twice in North America, finishing eighth in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita, and fourth in the recent Mr. D. Stakes (formerly the Arlington Million). Over in Europe, he has kept stakes company, while not running against the best. He is a Group 2 winner and won a stakes race in June at York, where he defeated Duke of Hazzard. The mile trip does seem to be a good distance for him, and coming off a good effort at Arlington, he should not be discounted in here.

Town Cruise

Beware the speed. This one is the only front-runner in the field, and breaking from the rail, it will only be a matter of how far he can take them. A true Woodbine horse, he made his stakes debut last time after a pair of very sharp allowance wins. He could not hold off Olympic Runner in the King Edward Stakes but held off everyone else, including March to the Arch and Avie’s Flatter. This is even tougher, but given his career-best form, experienced in the last one, and lone speed, he is clearly a horse to consider for the exotics.

Avie’s Flatter

This classy 5-year-old son of Flatter competed in all three legs of the 2019 Canadian Triple Crown, finishing in the money each time. He missed much of 2020 but has come back strong with two wins to begin this season. The wins both came at 7 furlongs, but he came up a little short last time going a mile in King Edward. Still, he was only beaten by 1 1/2-lengths. This is a tough spot, but Canada’s champion juvenile male of 2018 certainly is not out of it. With the right stalk and pounce trip, he’ll be one of many with a real shot in mid-stretch.

Duke of Hazzard

The other European does have some back class, counting a Group 2 win at Goodwood among his five career victories. He’s consistently kept fine company over in England throughout his career, but it has been a long time since he has won. In fact, that Group 2 was his last victory, and after a layoff, he has returned with 12 consecutive losses. He’s been close enough in many of those to not be shocked if he runs well on Saturday, but the losing streak makes it difficult to be excited about his chances.

Change of Control

The lone female runner in the field won the Grade 3 Intercontinental at Belmont Park just two starts ago, but this spot still would seem like a pretty big step up in class. In her favor, she is clearly in the best form of her career, having won two-stakes races in her last four starts. Both came in sprints, though, and she has done all her best running in shorter races. She does have the early speed to chase Town Cruise early, but at a mile, I don’t expect her to have enough late to beat the males.

How to Watch the Woodbine Mile

Woodbine Mile Race Information
Race Woodbine Mile (Grade 1)
Location Woodbine
Time Saturday, September 18 — 6:12 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $1,000,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

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