TORONTO — Champion mare Tepin and defending champion Mondialiste top the list of 30 horses nominated Friday to the Grade 1 $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile.
The turf race will be held Sept. 17 at Woodbine Racetrack.
Tepin, a five-time Grade 1 winner and last year's Eclipse Award champion grass mare, comes into the race having won seven straight. The five-year-old daughter of Bernstein is trained by Mark Casse, who was recently inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
"She's on her game right now," Casse said. "She's been working very well.
"She really likes the fall, when the weather gets a little cooler. You can see her attitude change. Right now, she's doing extremely well."
Tepin won last year's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile, topping a field that included Mondialiste. She has won at seven different tracks and will run over Woodbine's E.P. Taylor turf course for the first time in the Mile.
Casse said Woodbine's European-style turf course, which offers a one-turn mile and a lengthy quarter-mile stretch run, can be tricky.
"I've seen a lot of good horses go there and not run well," he said. "So, it’s a concern, but honestly she's handled everything thrown at her."
A first victory in the $1-million, Grade 1 event would mean a lot to Casse.
"Woodbine, and Toronto, have been our second home so to be able to bring a filly like Tepin to Woodbine and win of the biggest races would make me very proud," he said.
Mondialiste, the son of Galileo, recently captured the 1 1/4-mile Grade 1 Arlington Million to secure a berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Last year, the Irish-bred edged favoured Lea to win the Mile and give owners Geoff and Sandra Turnbull, trainer David O'Meara and jockey Feargal Lynch their first win in the annual turf classic.
Obviously, the pacesetter in the 2015 Mile, is also among the nominees. Trained by Philip D'Amato, the Irish-bred son of Choisir is a multiple graded stakes winner and won the Grade 3 Poker Stakes at Belmont Park last time out.
Chad Brown, the second-leading trainer in North America, has nominated three to the Mile: A Lot, Offering Plan and Takeover Target.
Heralded Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien has nominated Cougar Mountain and improving sophomore Long Island Sound. The latter was narrowly defeated by Beach Patrol in a head-bob finish in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes last time out at Arlington Park.
Local hopes in the race include Glenville Gardens, Passion for Action and Tower of Texas.
Glenville Gardens, trained by Sid Attard for Janice Attard, made the grade last time out with a 1/2-length score over Tower of Texas. The horse was claimed for $40,000 on Sept. 13, 2015 and has since won five-of-seven starts for new connections.
Passion for Action, trained by Mike DePaulo for owner-breeder Ben Hutzel, is a multiple graded stakes-winning son of Speightstown. The Ontario-bred colt made the grade in the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes on May 7 before adding the Grade 2 Highlander turf event to his resume.
Tower of Texas, trained by Hall of Famer Roger Attfield for owners Thomas Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth, has finished in the money in 14-of-18 starts, including four wins. The Ontario-bred son of Street Sense was seventh in last year's Mile.