Turallure makes the grade at Woodbine Mile

Turallure (left) won the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael...

Turallure (left) won the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns/Photo)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:47 PM ET

About a month ago, Turallure was just another good turf horse looking for a breakthrough victory to establish his credentials.

The first step was a graded stakes win which he accomplished in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga. Now, he’s a Grade 1 winner after his narrow victory in the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile.

The $600,000 in Canadian funds is a nice reward for him, but, more importantly, he now has a guaranteed spot in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs in November.

His Woodbine Mile run was true to form for the late-closer but there were some anxious moments. Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Turallure was allowed to settle near the back of the 12-horse field early while expected pace-setter Kara’s Orientation went to the front. He stayed near the back and could be seen at the top of the stretch still with only one horse beaten.

So Leparoux needed some room, and a bit of magic. He started to slant his mount wide on the expansive turf stretch, seemingly going from the rail to the eight path in a matter of strides. By then, race favourite Courageous Cat had seized control and also emerging to the inside of that was Right One. But it was simply a matter of using the clear space and a quick turn of foot by Turallure to get to the line a neck in front.

The mile was covered in 1:34.92 on a firm course with a bit of moisture in it.

“He broke good for me,” Leparoux said. “I just wanted to save ground around the turn and when I got him out, he ran big today.”

At the line, he was running in the centre of the track, a bit away from the action so he wasn’t entirely sure immediately that he got there.

“They were pretty far away from me so I didn’t really know,” he said. “I thought at the line that I got it but you don’t really want to be happy before you make sure.”

Trainer Charles Lopresti said the move he made in the stretch is indicative of his turn of foot.

“He’s got an amazing kick,” he said. “Everybody that has ever ridden him or breezed him in the mornings says he just drops you out of the saddle.”

Unraced at two, the son of Canadian triple crown winner Wando scored three times in nine starts as a 3-year-old, finishing the year with a third-place finish in the Commonwealth Turf at Churchill in November. In 2011, he won the ungraded Opening Verse at Churchill in June.

After the Baruch, Lopresti took his time with him.

“We didn’t training him very much,” he said. “We had an easy five-eighth and just tried to keep him happy.”

He brought the horse to Woodbine last Monday, becoming the first of the shippers to arrive. Lopresti arrived with him and in doing so was making his own first trip, not only to Woodbine, but to Canada. He said his wife had been urging him for a while to get a passport in case he had planned a Canadian race for one of his horses. The win is also a career highlight for Lopresti as he hadn’t won a Grade 1 stakes race until last year’s Forego Stakes at Saratoga.

Lopresti said it is likely Turallure will be given time off prior to the Breeders’ Cup but that is likely going to be his next destination.


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