Preview: Redwood headlines Pattison International field

[audio:http://www.torontoobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Gordon_Pattison_Podcast.mp3|titles=Gordon_Pattison_Podcast]

Redwood heads the list of nine horses in the 73rd edition of the Grade 1, $2 million Pattison Canadian International on Saturday afternoon at Woodbine.

The race takes added significance because the winner is automatically slotted into the Breeders Cup, as part of the Win and You’re In Program — 66 races that guarantee the winner a spot in the starting field for the corresponding Breeders’ Cup Championship events.

Redwood, the Tuesday morning 2-1 favourite, showed his true pedigree in his last race at Woodbine when he tracked down Fifty Proof down the stretch, winning the $750,000 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes on Sept. 19.

The four-year-old, who is the British bred son of High Chapparel drew the No. 8 slot for the 1¼-mile turf race for three-year-olds and up, will have Michael Hills as his mount.

“He seemed to have come out of the Northern Dancer really well, assistant trainer Charlie Hills told reporters. “He’s got plenty of talent and a good turn of foot.”

Fifty Proof (10-1), trained by Ian Black for owners Kinghaven Farms, is the lone Canadian horse in the race.

His last ride was a second-place finish at the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes where he lagged during the stretch run and was overtaken by Redwood.

He has four wins and three seconds in eight career starts.

“He’s a big horse, a hair short of 17 hands [173 cm tall],” Black told the Woodbine website. “He’s had to grow into his body and he has done just that. Now, we are coming into a race that is much tougher and expectations are higher.”

The four-year-old Ontario bred will try to become the first Canadian horse to win the Pattison since Thornfield accomplished the feat in 1999.

Justin Stein will be the jockey.

Chinchon (7-2) is making his second start in North America this season. In his first appearance, he rallied in the stretch and took the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park in New Jersey on July 3.

The five-year-old has won five of 20 lifetime starts and will be ridden by Garrett Gomez.

Marsh Side (4-1) blew the tote board in his 2008 appearance at the Pattison, paying $61.20 in a 1¾-length win. Edgar Prado will get the mount on the seven-year-old.

Al Khali (6-1) arrives with some momentum after his Sept. 11 win in the Grade 2 Bowling Green at Belmont Park in New York. Trainer Bill Mott has Alan Garcia riding the four-year-old Kentucky bred son of Medaglia d’Oro.

Joshua Tree (8-1) is the only three-year-old in the race. The winner of the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, has raced only twice this year, showing in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur on Aug. 17 and fifth in the English St. Leger at Doncaster on Sept. 11.

Mores Wells (12-1) arrives from France, via Sweden, where he won the Group 3 Stockholm Cup International on Sept. 12, the same race won by Collier Hill before he took home the Pattison in 2006.

He has won three of his seven starts this year. Trainer Richard Gibson has Sebastien Maillot in the saddle.

Simmard (15-1), coming off an eight-month layoff, finished second in the Bowling Green, just a neck behind Al Khali. The five-year-old has won four of 15 starts, including the Chief Bearheart Stakes at Woodbine last fall. Javier Castellano gets his first start on Simmard.

Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield will be attempting to win his first Pattison. He has finished second three times — Spice Route (2008), Alywow (1994) and Steady Power (1989).

Memorial Maniac (20-1) finished fifth in the Northern Dancer event but prior to that he won his first stakes race in the Stars and Stripes at Arlington Park in Chicago.

The five-year-old son of Lear Fan will be ridden by James Graham.

Post time is scheduled for 5:40 p.m.

Field and Post Position

1) Al Khali
2) Chinchon
3) Fifty Proof
4) Joshua Tree
5) Marsh Side
6) Memorial Maniac
7) Mores Wells
8) Redwood
9) Simmard