Bill Mott has been a going concern in several previous Woodbine Miles, sending out Geri to win the inaugural edition in 1997; Courageous Cat (2011) and Lea (2015) to finish second; and Long On Value to end a troubled third last year.
On Saturday, Mott will be looking to make his presence felt with Good Samaritan, who will be hoping to resurrect his turf career in the prestigious event.
As a two-year-old, the Kentucky-bred punched his ticket to the Breeders' Cup with a victory in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes over the Woodbine Mile course and distance.
The Harlan's Holiday colt then finished third as the lukewarm choice in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita and ran three more solid races in turf stakes before a career change led him to dirt surfaces.
The move paid immediate dividends as Good Samaritan won Saratoga's Grade 2 Jim Dandy in his first run over a main track.
“We were trying to win a Grade 1 with him,” said Mott. “We didn't get that done but he won a couple of graded stakes and was second in the Grade 1 Clark at Churchill last fall.”
Now, after finishing a well-beaten fifth in Saratoga's Grade 1 Whitney over a very sloppy surface, Good Samaritan will be returning to his turf roots.
“Pretty much his last race we made the choice to switch him back to the turf and see how we get along. The big, sweeping turn there—I think that'll suit him.”
Joel Rosario, aboard for all but Good Samaritan's last two starts, will return following a two-race hiatus. “I guess the agent knows when to ride him,” said Mott.
Rosario's five previous Mile attempts include a second aboard Lea; thirds with Long On Value and Bobby's Kitten (2014); and fourths with Full Mast (trained by Mott, 2016) and Crowded House (2010).
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