DEL MAR, Calif. — For more reasons than one, the people who work around World Approval would like to see him win the Breeders’ Cup Mile on a regular basis.
Sure, there’s the glory and the riches, but Saturday’s BC Mile win also served to take the edge off World Approval. The 5-year-old nearly white gelding still stood as usual with his head hanging over his stall webbing and out into the shed row of the Del Mar barn where trainer Mark Casse’s seven Breeders’ Cup runners were stabled this week, but that head was not lunging menacingly toward passersby.
“He looks really happy, but he’s not really attacking anybody today, so I guess he’s a little tired,” said assistant trainer Norman Casse. “He seems really sweet and innocent today, so I guess it took a little bit out of him yesterday.”
World Approval and the rest of the Casse horses at Del Mar fly Tuesday to Florida for some rest and relaxation. World Approval will get some time at Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud, where he was born and raised, but because he is a gelding, all being well, he’ll return to the races in 2018.
World Approval became the second BC Mile winner for his dam, Win Approval, who produced Miesque’s Approval, the winner of the 2006 Mile. Za Approval, another Win Approval son, was second in the 2013 BC Mile.
World Approval, who earned a 107 Beyer Speed Figure for his Mile win, stands a good chance of being named champion turf horse of 2017. He started his season winning a restricted $100,000 stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, won the Grade 2 Dixie at Pimlico, was fifth in the Grade 1 Manhattan over 1 1/4 miles, then completed his campaign with three Grade 1 mile wins, the Fourstardave and the Woodbine Mile preceding his emphatic 1 1/4-length victory Saturday.
World Approval, for the first full season, will have a 2018 campaign concentrated on races at or about one mile. Casse was asked by overseas press Saturday if he’d consider a start in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, a race Casse won in 2016 with Tepin. Casse didn’t rule out such a trip, but 2018 planning remains a way away.
Lancaster Bomber finished second to World Approval on Saturday, just like he had in the Woodbine Mile. Lancaster Bomber has on occasion in his overseas starts been used as a pacemaker but when allowed to run on his own merit is a good miler, particularly on firm turf. A year ago at Santa Anita, he was second in the BC Juvenile Turf.
Mile third-place finisher Blackjackcat made a sharp wide move around the far turn and turned in a strong performance in his first Grade 1 start this year. Trainer Mark Glatt said Sunday that his horse had come out of the race in good shape but that he and owners Al and Sandy Kirkwood hadn’t settled on plans.
“We haven’t really discussed anything just yet, but we’ll sit down in the next few days,” Glatt said. “We could back off on the horse for a while — with winter coming up, it might be a good time — and get him ready for an early-spring campaign.”
Fourth-place Suedois will head back to England without any specific plans, trainer David O’Meara said. Suedois emerged as a high-level turf miler this year and won the Shadwell Turf Mile before Saturday’s race. He’s a gelding and could well return for more American racing next year.
Fifth-place Ribchester failed to show his best while racing on a tighter-turning track than he’d ever experienced and running back two weeks after a tough race in England. Europe’s best miler of 2017 has run for the last time and will stand at stud in 2018.