WOODBINE Mile gets his Ap­proval

World Ap­proval breaks away from the pack to win $800,000 race and spot in Breed­ers’ Cup

Sunday Sports - - SPORTS - RICHARD MAUNTAH

World Ap­proval is en­joy­ing his new life as a mile spe­cial­ist.

The six-year-old geld­ing, who had pre­vi­ously raced over longer dis­tances, cap­tured the $800,000 Woodbine Mile on Satur­day and with it, a guar­an­teed spot in the Breed­ers’ Cup Mile.

He never had run on a flat mile be­fore his pre­vi­ous race, the Fourstar­dave at Saratoga. And while that was a track­ing trip, he was forced into a slightly dif­fer­ent tac­tic at Woodbine.

Rid­den by John Ve­lazquez, World Ap­proval broke com­fort­ably from the rail and was trav­el­ling with three oth­ers, Dragon Bay, Deauville, and Con­quest Pan­thera, at the front of a tight pack. That changed lit­tle around the turn with World Ap­proval hemmed on the in­side.

“He broke re­ally well,” Ve­lazquez said. “The more I read the form, the more I looked at the horses, no­body seemed to want to be on the lead.”

In the stretch, he took a length from the rest of the field and eased away from his pur­suers from there.

“When I asked him to run he re­sponded right away and ran away from the other horses pretty eas­ily,” Ve­lazquez said. “

“Johnny did a beau­ti­ful job,” owner Char­lotte We­ber said. “The horse seemed to be happy where he was and he just stayed there and took the race away.”

The win was the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive score in the Woodbine Mile for trainer Mark Casse, who brought Tepin north last year. Casse was in Ken­tucky, where year­ling sales are cur­rently tak­ing place.

“I’m at cen­tral con­trol at Keeneland,” Casse said by phone. “We had horses run­ning ev­ery­where but at the last mo­ment, I de­cided not to come.”

World Ap­proval, a sixyear-old son of North­ern Afleet, had been to Woodbine be­fore, fin­ish­ing third in last year’s North­ern Dancer Turf be­fore end­ing eighth in the Cana­dian In­ter­na­tional. This year, he won a stake at Tampa and the Dixie Stakes at Pim­lico. He ran in the Fourstar­dave af­ter fin­ish­ing fifth in the Man­hat­tan at Bel­mont.

Now af­ter some fresh­en­ing at his home base of Churchill Downs, it’s on to Del Mar and the Breed­ers’ Cup in Novem­ber.

“As long as he’s healthy, we’re on to the Breed­ers’ Cup,” Casse said. “I think he’s good right now.”

“Am I con­fi­dent we can win? Let’s just say I won’t trade places with any­one.”

Lan­caster Bomber, one of two in the race trained by Ai­dan O’Brien, got up for sec­ond. The Bill Mott­trained Long On Value ended third fol­lowed by 2015 win­ner Mon­di­al­iste. The dis­ap­point­ment in the race was Deauville. The O’Brien trainee, a reg­u­lar in Group 1 races in Eng­land, fin­ished 11th in the 12-horse field.

MICHAEL BURNS/PHOTO

World Ap­proval (the grey geld­ing on the right), with jockey John Ve­lazquez aboard, turned it on in the stretch to win the $800,000 Woodbine Mile yes­ter­day.

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