Old Persian Brings International Form to Woodbine
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The $300,000 Northern Dancer Turf (G1) over 1 ½ miles is not the featured event on Saturday’s card at Woodbine Racetrack, but it features one of the standout horses in training in Old Persian (GB).
The four-year-old son of Dubawi (Ire) was a stellar winner of the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) in March for trainer Charlie Appleby. He also won the prep for that race, the Dubai City of Gold, by a nose, but since his Dubai glory has struggled to regain his form. He was seventh in the Coronation Cup (G1) behind Defoe after being bumped, then finished third in the Longines Grosser Preis von Berlin (G1) in Germany. He was a well backed favorite that day but missed by a length. James Doyle, who has ridden him to two of his previous victories, is back in the irons for this.
Hoping to wire the field for an upset is Tiz a Slam. The five-year-old son of Tiznow has always been a star, but recently blossomed, winning three graded stakes races in succession, including the grade 2 Nijinsky at Woodbine and the grade 3 Louisville at Churchill Downs. He is five for nine over this turf course for trainer Roger Attfield. Last year, Tiz a Slam finished sixth in this event after dueling for the early lead.
Focus Group is one from the Chad Brown arsenal that was shipped in to Woodbine this week. He is coming off a disappointing effort in the grade 2 Bowling Green at Saratoga, but won the Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream Park earlier this year. He has run at Woodbine once before, finishing third in last year’s Canadian International (G1). With the Ortiz brothers Irad and Jose in Kentucky, Joel Rosario climbs aboard for the first time.
Nessy is a six-year-old son of Flower Alley for trainer Ian Wilkes, and will have the services of Luis Saez. He was an allowance winner at Keeneland in April, his first victory since 2017. He has only won four of 31 starts but has finished top three 18 times.
Cooler Mike is 20-1 on the morning line but is coming off a victory over this 1 ½ mile trip. Patrick Husbands will be up for the first time on this four-year-old son of Giant Gizmo, who took the Halton Stakes by two-and-a-quarter lengths last out.
Sir Sahib rounds out the six runners. Kevin Attard brings the four-year-old son of Fort Larned in off a second-place effort in the grade 2 Nijinsky here last out over this trip. He was a winner on the main synthetic track here in May, his first start for Attard after being previously trained by Ian Wilkes in Kentucky. He has finished top three in 10 of 13 lifetime starts.
- July 2, 2020
On Saturday, the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap will top a great card at Belmont Park with five graded stakes and once again bring several of the nation’s best horses together for a one-mile showdown.
- July 2, 2020
Welcome to the 2020 Stay Lucky season with presenting sponsor Breeders' Cup! We have several exciting new prizes plus a smoother, faster app for the new season!
- July 2, 2020
Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Features Metropolitan Handicap from Belmont Park This Saturday Live at 5 PM on NBC
Led by Code of Honor, McKinzie and Vekoma, an outstanding field of eight horses will compete for a free berth into the $2 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) on Saturday, July 4 in the 1-mile, $500,000 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap.