TORONTO — Home track advantage paid off quite nicely Saturday for Town Cruise.
Daisuke Fukumoto rode the six-year-old gelding to a wire-to-wire victory in the $1-million Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile turf race at Woodbine Racetrack. The win came in Ontario-bred Town Cruise's 14th career start, all at Woodbine.
Town Cruise took the victory in one minute 35.14 seconds over good ground.
"I'm still in awe, it’s an unbelievable feeling," Fukumoto said after the race. "Winning a Grade 1 is my dream and I got a good horse this year so far.
"This horse is a little difficult horse to ride. I am so happy so to celebrate for myself. I want to say thank you to Brandon (trainer Brandon Greer) for taking very good care of this horse and a big thank you."
Fukumoto rode one-eyed Mighty Heart to victory last year in the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales.
The Woodbine-based Greer, who also owns and co-bred Town Cruise with his father, Terrance, found the upset victory a little overwhelming to take in.
"It feels a little surreal at the moment, but I'm absolutely thrilled with him," Greer said. "This horse is amazing. I absolutely love him."
Space Traveller, a five-year-old dark bay from Great Britain with Daniel Tudhope aboard, was second, 2 1/4 lengths behind. French-bred Raging Bull, ridden by Frankie Dettori, was third.
Town Cruise paid $19.30, $10.10 and $6.10 while Space Traveller returned $10.20 and $6.30.
Raging Bull paid $3.70.
Town Cruise captured a sixth career win to go with two second-place finishes and a third over his 14 all-time starts.
With the win, Town Cruise earned a berth into the US$2-million Breeders’ Cup Mile, which is scheduled to be run Nov. 6 at Del Mar. Greer couldn't immediately say if the horse will indeed be heading to the Breeders' Cup.
"Well, I'm going to have to ask someone very important first, the horse," he said. "We're going to take a couple of days and just take it slow, take it easy, see how everything is after the race.
"And then I'll ask the horse and see what he wants to do."
Earlier, Dettori guided Walton Street to victory in the $600,000 Pattison Canadian International. Walton Street finished the 1 1/2-mile race in 2:29.07 on a good turf course.
Walton Street crossed the finish line 5 3/4 lengths ahead of Desert Encounter, which was chasing a third straight victory in the event. Desert Encounter was ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson.
Danny Tudhope was originally scheduled to ride Desert Encounter but was sidelined by travel issues.
Joshua Tree (2010, 2012, 2013) remains the only three-time winner of the race.
Primo Touch, with Fukumoto aboard, was third.
“I think to be honest it worked out perfectly how we thought it would,” said Alex Merriman, the assistant to winning trainer Charlie Appleby. "I thought he would go forward and slot in.
“Frankie has his game plan, and turning in he always knew he was going to kick on and he’s gone and seen the race on nicely. "
Dettori registered his record fourth Canadian International win. His previous successes came with Mutafaweq (2000), Sulamani (2004), and Joshua Tree (2010).
Walton Street paid $3.70, $2.40 and $2.20 while Desert Encounter returned $5.40 and $4.30.
Primo Touch paid $6.80
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2021.
The Canadian Press