JockeyJohn R. Velazquez
TrainerMark E. Casse
OwnerLive Oak Plantation
BreederLive Oak Stud
Live Oak Plantation’s World Approval ($7.40) became the first favorite to win a Breeders’ Cup race Saturday of the 2017 World Championships at Del Mar as he posted a 1 1/4-length victory over Lancaster Bomber in taking the 34th running of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) for 3-year-olds and up. Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by John Velazquez, World Approval covered the mile on a firm turf course in 1:34.55.
World Approval, a 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Northern Afleet, registered his third consecutive Grade 1 victory going a mile. He won the Ricoh Woodbine Mile in Canada in September and the Fourstardave at Saratoga in August in his previous two starts. World Approval’s only defeat in six starts in 2017 came when he finished fifth in the Manhattan Handicap in June. The win was the second for Casse in the Mile and fourth overall Breeders’ Cup win. Tepin won the 2015 Mile at Keeneland.
For Velazquez, it was his second victory of the weekend and 15th overall. It was his third victory in the Mile with others coming in 1998 with Da Hoss and 2012 with Wise Dan.
It was also the second win in the Mile for Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation, whose Miesque’s Approval, a half-brother to World Approval, won the 2006 edition.
Midnight Storm and Heart to Heart set a contested pace with World Approval tracking a few lengths off the leaders. Velasquez swung World Approval to the outside on the far turn, collared Heart to Heart at midstretch and drew off. Lancaster Bomber rallied to finish second, a head in front of Blackjackcat.
“I was a little concerned early on because there was so much speed, “ said Casse. “But, this horse came into this race in just great order and he was ready. Norman (Casse, his son and assistant) and his team deserve so much credit for getting him to this point. This is quite a way to cap our last Breeders' Cup together (now that Norman is going out on his own). Maybe now we'll be running in Breeders' Cups against each other. And, it means so much to win this race for Mrs. (Charlotte) Weber. I am so proud to train horses for her and to win this race for her. This is all really very special.”
“He was between horses and switched leads coming down the lane,” said Velazquez. “He always had it for me. Horses like him make you look good. He’s been perfect for me.”
Three months later, World Approval was named the Champion Turf Horse of 2017.
World Approval opened 2018 in February with a win in the Tampa Bay Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, but following unplaced finishes in the Frank E. Kilroe (G1) at Santa Anita and the Wise Dan Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs, Casse took him out of training for the remainder of the year. He was officially retired on February 26, 2019.
“How lucky we have been at Live Oak Stud/Plantation to have championed such a winning family,” said owner Charlotte Weber. “I am proud and privileged to have experienced this Sport of Kings with such outstanding racehorses and shall protect them as we grow older together.”
|June 16, 2018||Wise Dan S.||CHURCHILL DOWNS||2||6|
|March 10, 2018||Frank E. Kilroe Mile S.||SANTA ANITA PARK||1||5|
|February 10, 2018||Tampa Bay S.||TAMPA BAY DOWNS||3||1|