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Oct 25, 2013

Joshua Tree to defend Canadian International


Toronto, ON ( - Joshua Tree has been entered to defend his title versus 10 in Sunday's $1 million Canadian International at Woodbine. The 6-year-old gelding is attempting to become the first horse to win the 1 1/2- mile turf race three times.

Owned by Khalid Nabooda and Kamel Albahou, Joshua Tree will start from post 5 with Ryan Moore in the saddle. The defending race winner is 6-1 in the morning-line, as he makes his fourth straight start in the event.

Joshua Tree, trained by Edward Dunlop, won last year's International by setting most of the pace with Frankie Dettori riding. In 2010, the horse won the International over a 'good' grass course and the next year was second to Sarah Lynx on a 'yielding' course.

The 6-year-old has earned $2.4 million from the three International starts, two-thirds of his $3.25 million lifetime earnings.

Joshua Tree comes into the International off a 13th-place finish at Longchamp in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. He finished second in his previous start, losing by a half-length to Verema in Deauville's Prix Kergolay.

"He came out of the Arc very well. The jockey wasn't overly hard on him and once all win positions were out of the way, he was good to travel back to England and that's why the decision was made to come out here," said Andrew Stringer, assistant to Dunlop.

The 3-1 program favorite is local runner Forte Dei Marmi, trained by Roger Attfield for owner Stella Perdomo. The 7-year-old gelding will be ridden by Eurico Rosa da Silva from post 8.

Although in both the Canadian and U.S. Racing Halls of Fame, Attfield is still seeking his first Canadian International win.

"It would appear that Forte Dei Marmi has been in good form for a little while now," Attfield noted. "I just hope we can keep him there. But it's hard to keep that kind of form going."

Forte Dei Marmi, third last year in the International, has won his last three starts this season, all at Woodbine. He captured the Northern Dancer Stakes last month after claiming the Sky Classic and Singspiel.

The gelding has won 10 of 32 career starts for $1,034,847.

Here is the field for the Canadian International in post position order: Hyper, Joel Rosario; Temeraine, Luis Contreras; Lucayan, Stephane Pasquier; Perfect Timber, John Velazquez; Joshua Tree, Ryan Moore; Stormy Len, Edgar Prado; Now We Can, Thierry Thulliez; Forte Dei Marmi, Eurico Rosa da Silva; Seismos, Andrea Atzeni; Irish Mission, Gary Boulanger and Slumber, Mike Smith.

The 76th Canadian International has an approximate post-time of 5:42 p.m. (ET).

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