Trainer hopes to conquer all

RICHARD MAUNTAH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

The reigning king of the Canadian turf will be in tough in Sunday's Woodbine Mile.

Not only will Sky Conqueror be facing perhaps his toughest field, he'll be doing so at a distance considered shorter than his optimum.

Still, trainer Darwin Banach feels the five-year-old son of Sky Classic has the ability to make his explosive move sooner than he's used to.

"I've always felt he has been a 'touch-button' type horse in that if he needs to be closer to the pace, he can be," Banach said. "If it's a shorter race, he can get in gear sooner. He has truly tremendous speed and a quick turn of foot."

Sky Conqueror is no stranger to a one-mile race. He won an allowance event last year and was a credible fifth, just two lengths away in a stakes event at Keeneland in the spring. At longer distances, he proved his mettle winning a Grade 1 race at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day and the Northern Dancer at Woodbine in July beating eventual Arlington Million winner Jambalaya. He finished third in the Nijinsky Stakes last time out.

He is the 6-1 fourth choice in the morning line for Sunday's $1-million event. New York-based Shakespeare, who won at Saratoga last month after nearly two years on the sidelines, is the 3-1 favourite.

Art Master is the 4-1 second choice off a Grade 3 stakes win in July. Defending champion Becrux is at 5-1 coming off a second-place finish at Del Mar last month.

Also in the field is reigning Canadian horse-of-the-year Arravale who is off to a struggling start after two races this season, Remarkable News who was fifth in last year's Mile, and local favourite Le Cinquieme Essai who has been on the board in his last 17 starts.

Also on tap Sunday is the Canadian Stakes which drew a field of nine including Woodbine Oaks winner Sealy Hill and the Summer Stakes which also drew nine starters.

Hall-of-fame jockey Jerry Bailey will be at Woodbine on Sunday to sign autographs and present the trophy to the winner of the Woodbine Mile.


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