Woodbine Plays 08/27/23 By Jackson Muniz

Race 7: #6 Vandoo (4-1)

I thought this was easily the most interesting race of the day as a field of 11 will line up in this stakes race for two year olds. I have no knocks against either of the two favorites #7 You Be the Judge or #8 Hurricane Clair. They both had some minor trouble that was self-caused, and rallied late to get up for third earning solid speed figures. I would lean towards the #7 since she never really ran as she was rank/green throughout the entirety of the race and has had plenty of time for the connections to correct that. But both are likely to take money after facing straight maidens and I was hesitant to take a short price. I really wanted to make a strong case for #11 Get My Drift (15-1) at a big number after a solid debut where she had trouble at the start and her race was a much faster heat than her stablemates on the same day. I watched the replay however, and she had a pretty sweet trip after that and wasn’t able to produce any kind of run. 

My top pick is going to be #6 Vandoo (4-1) as the speed of the field. She was extremely fast out of the gate in his debut, clearing the field from the outside post within a few jumps out of the gate. These two year olds can obviously improve in a hurry, but so far none of his rivals have shown any kind of early lick that can stay with her early. She was slightly against the race flow that day as the two through four finishers came from the back, and just held on to dead heat for the win. That foe blew by her after the wire, but Vandoo would pass her again on the gallop out, so I don’t think the distance should be an issue. That race also looks productive since the third place finisher returned at the same level to win by six lengths(Vandoo’s early pace rival that day is entered in the race prior to this so keep an eye out for how he does). The relatively low figure doesn’t bother me too much, but I do need every bit of that 4-1 price in a race like this so be aware of the tote. 

Race 8: #4 Legal Catch (6-1)

Smaller field, but I’m against the three favorites in this spot. #1 El Cohete could not have had easier trips in the last couple starts and couldn’t get the job done. Maybe the cutback will help, but he’ll have to work much harder early on to stay in the race and he’s not for me a short price. Ditto for #7 Kinetic Stone who was allowed to cruise uncontested on the lead last time, but will face more pressure today and has yet to prove he can pass rivals. #2 Rapid Test is definitely the horse to beat in here after an impressive showing last time, and he should get a good setup today. But he was nearly 10-1 that day and will be closer to even money against this group. I guess he’s a standout based on that last Beyer figure, but I’ll make him prove it was no fluke at a short price. 

I’m not going to make a habit of betting older maidens against winners, but I do think #4 Legal Catch warrants a look if you can get 6-1. He’s been going to two turns in his last few starts and has been running decently, but he usually makes a move into contention and then fades in the final furlong so that strongly suggests he needs a cutback. This seven furlong trip should be right up his alley and could give him a fitness edge against today’s rivals. If you toss that race two back where something clearly went amiss, he has improved his speed figure in every start of his career and it’s not like his latest figure is that far off what it’ll take to win this race. He should get a great set-up with the majority of the field doing their best running on the lead and I like that he has the fastest late-pace figures in the field.  That last race turned out to be a good one as the winner ran a respectable fifth in the King’s Plate and the fourth place finisher came back to dominate a maiden race. Again, he is a maiden facing winners so make sure you’re getting a square price, but I do think this gelding has a lot going for him and could make some noise. 

Race 11: #10 Red Line Overdrive (15-1)

If you can forgive the last effort, #10 Red Line Overdrive (15-1) deserves a look at a big number. He was favored that day and never got untracked after a wide trip (the rail may have been the place to be that day). I’m hoping that was just a bad day for him because his form prior to that gives him a shot in this race. He had been facing good competition going two turns and while he showed good early speed, he was never quite able to see out the distance. In my opinion the cutback should have been right up his alley, which is why I was so perplexed when he didn’t run a step last time. He was claimed out of the race by McKnight who promptly protects him in this spot and he has been burning up the track in the mornings so I have to believe he’ll return to form. This race appears loaded with early speed and I think he’ll get a great tracking trip from this cozy outside post. I love that he’s fast early, but also basically has the co-highest late pace figures in the field. Note his only victory came from just off the pace. Bombs away?

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