Joshua Tree, winner of the 2012 and 2010 editions of the $1 million Pattison Canadian International and second in the 2011 running, looks to defend his title in the Oct. 27 Woodbine event against 10 other invaders.
A field of 11 was drawn for the 1 ½-mile turf event, with Stella Perdomo's Forte Dei Marmi the lukewarm 3-1 favorite on the morning line. Hyper and Slumber are among the American contingent. All carry 126 pounds, except 3-year-old Stormy Len (119) and the cross-entered filly Irish Mission (123), who could also run in the $500,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes going 1 ¼ miles against her own division.
The 76th edition of the International is slated as the 10th on an 11-race card with an approximate post time of 5:42 p.m. EDT. Sportsnet 360 will provide live coverage across Canada from 4:30 to 6 p.m. This marks the 11th year that Pattison Outdoor, Canada's largest outdoor advertising company, has sponsored Woodbine's turf classic, which rewards the winner with $600,000.
Joshua Tree, a 6-year-old son of champion Montjeu who is 6-1 on the morning line, will attempt to become the first three-time winner of the race. Now trained by Ed Dunlop, who conditioned such greats as Ouija Board and Snow Fairy, Joshua Tree will be ridden by Ryan More from post 5.
In 2010, Joshua Tree won for trainer Aidan O'Brien. In 2011, when he finished second, and in 2012, he was trained by Marco Botti for owners Khalid Nabooda and Kamel Albahou. He is winless in five starts since moving to Dunlop, and enters the International off a 13th-place finish to Treve in the Oct. 6 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Forte Dei Marmi is one of two International contenders trained by Roger Attfield (the other is 12-1 Perfect Timber). The 7-year-old British-bred Selkirk gelding enters on a three-race win streak, having captured the Northern Dancer on Sept. 15, the Sky Classic on Aug. 18, and the July 7 Singspiel. Last year, Forte Dei Marmi was a good third behind Joshua Tree in the International.
Forte Dei Marmi will have Eurico Rosa Da Silva in the irons from post 8 aboard his first International mount; Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has the assignment on Charles Fipke's Ontario-bred Perfect Timber, a 4-year-old homebred son of Perfect Soul who will break from the 4 hole.
Perfect Timber did not get to the races at 2 or 3, but began his career successfully at Gulfstream Park in April and has hooked stablemate Forte Dei Marmi in three consecutive stakes, most recently falling a neck short in the Northern Dancer.
"I'm quite happy with the post positions for both horses," said Attfield. "Both horses are really, really doing well. It would appear that Forte Dei Marmi has been in good form for a little while now. I just hope we can keep him there for a bit longer."
Juddmonte Farms' Slumber, a lightly-raced British-bred 5-year-old son of Cacique who is 4-1 on the morning line, comes into the International off a fourth-place finish in the Sept. 28 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park. The Bill Mott trainee finished just 1 ¼ lengths behind the Breeders' Cup Turf-bound trio of defending champion Little Mike, two-time Grade 1 winner Big Blue Kitten, and Arlington Million winner Real Solution.
"He kind of had to wait to make his run (in the Turf Classic)," Mott explained. "Maybe if he had got clear a little earlier he could have benefitted and been a little closer."
Hall of Famer Mott won the 1995 International with Lassigny, and with this contender will try to give Juddmonte a record fourth victory in the turf classic, following French Glory (1990), Raintrap (1994), and Champs Elysees (2009). Another Hall of Famer, Mike Smith, gets the mount from the outside.
Chad Brown will send out the 5-1 third choice, Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Hyper. The 6-year-old son of Canadian-bred Victory Gallop is on a two-race win streak, having taken the Johns Call at Saratoga Race Course July 31, then notching the Sept. 7 Bowling Green at Belmont. Joel Rosario will ride from the rail.
Pandora Stud's Lucayan, a French-bred by Turtle Bowl, is 8-1 on the morning line despite being winless in five starts this year in North America. Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale sent the 4-year-old to a third-place finish last time out in the Sept. 29 John Henry Turf Classic at Santa Anita Park behind Breeders' Cup Turf-bound Indy Point. Lucayan will be reunited with French jockey Stephane Pasquier from post 3; Pasquier was aboard for his two wins last year in France, including the group I French Two Thousand Guineas at Longchamp.
Irish-bred Seismos, owned and bred by Gestut Karlshof and trained by Andreas Wohler, won the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Bayern at Munich Aug. 11 before finishing second to highly-regarded stablemate Novellist in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden Sept. 1 at Baden-Baden. The 5-year-old gelded son of Dalakhani, a winner in five of 17 career starts, will be ridden Andrea Atzeni from the 9 hole and is 10-1 on the morning line.
Niall Racing's Temeraine, a 4-year-old Arch gelding, enters off a victory in the Sept. 14 Kentucky Turf Cup going 1 ½ miles at Kentucky Downs. In his previous start, he was fifth behind The Apache and Real Solution in the Arlington Million for trainer Tom Proctor. Woodbine's leading rider Luis Contreras gets the mount from post 2 on the 15-1 shot.
At 20-1 are David Donk trainee Stormy Len, the Nicolas Clement-trained Now We Can, and Irish Mission for trainer Mark Frostad.