TORONTO, November 4 – Live Oak Plantation’s World Approval, an impressive winner of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile in September, drew off to a 1 1/4-length score in Saturday’s Grade 1 $2-million Breeders’ Cup Mile, at Del Mar Racetrack in California.
Trained by Woodbine’s leading trainer Mark Casse and expertly handled by John Velazquez, World Approval settled in fifth through swift splits of :22.30 and :45.65.
The handsome grey son of Northern Afleet swooped to the lead in early stretch and found another gear to notch the win in 1:34.55. Lancaster Bomber, the runner-up in the Woodbine Mile, again completed the exacta with a late rally. Sent to post as the 5-2 favourite, World Approval paid $7.40 to win.
Casse admitted to being a little worried at the quick early pace.
“I was a little concerned early on because there was so much speed. But, this horse came into this race in just great order and he was ready. Norman (Casse, his son and assistant) and his team deserve so much credit for getting him to this point,” said Casse. “This is quite a way to cap our last Breeders' Cup together (now that Norman is going out on his own). Maybe now we'll be running in Breeders' Cups against each other. And, it means so much to win this race for Mrs. (Charlotte) Weber. I am so proud to train horses for her and to win this race for her. This is all really very special.”
The win marked the fourth Breeders’ Cup score for Casse, who previously won on the biggest stage with Catch a Glimpse (2015 Juvenile Fillies Turf), Classic Empire (2016 Juvenile) and Tepin (2015 Mile).