Ten Things You Should Know: Woodbine Mile
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
Originally published on September 15, 2011
1) The Woodbine Mile is run over the turf course at Woodbine Race Course in Toronto, Canada. The race stands as one of the most prestigious and richest on the Canadian racing calender for older turf horses.
2) Since 2008, the winner of the Woodbine Mile has earned an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile. In 2012, Horse of the Year Wise Dan became the first to win the Woodbine Mile and the Breeders’ Cup Mile in the same year. Court Vision, the 2010 Woodbine Mile winner, won the 2011 BC Mile in a huge upset over the great Goldikova.
3) The race was run for the first time in 1997 as the Atto Mile and has had a purse exceeding or near $1 million since. It has been run as the Woodbine Mile since 2006.
4) With its large purse, it has attracted runners from all over the world. Since 1997, winners have come from six different countries: Brazil, Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy, and the United States.
5) The Brazilian-bred Leroidesanimaux won the 1995 edition of the race by a record 7 ¾ lengths. He was a big betting favorite a few weeks later in Breeders’ Cup Mile but finished second to Artie Schiller. He was named the American Champion Male Turf Horse that same year and would later sire the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom.
6) In 1999, second choice in the betting pool Hawkley Hill crossed the wire first, just one-fifth of a second off the track record, but was disqualified and placed fourth. Quiet Resolve, a gelding by Affirmed, crossed the wire second and was placed first. He paid $91.10 to win.
7) In 2004, Soaring Free won the last edition that was run as the Atto Mile. That same year, he was named Canadian Horse of the Year and Canadian Champion Turf Horse of the Year. His sire, Smart Strike, also sired an American Turf Champion in English Channel, the 2007 Eclipse winner.
8) In 2009, Ventura became the first female to win the race. She had won the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and finished second in that same race in 2009. 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Tepin became the second female winner in 2016.
9) Trainer Neil Drysdale has won four editions of the race: 1989 (Prized), 1998 (Labeeb), 2003 (Touch of the Blues), and 2006 (Becrux).
10) Jockey John Velazquez has also won five editions of the Woodbine Mile (2000, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2017). Two of those wins were aboard the only two-time winning horse, Wise Dan (2012, 2013). His last win was aboard World Approval in 2017.