Excellent card at Woodbine today with five graded stakes, full fields, and lots of fantastic betting opportunities!
Race 5: Turf King 2-1
This is a horse I’ve been waiting to bet since his last start when I backed him pretty heavily at Monmouth. He could only manage third that day, but I thought he subtly had a bad trip. Near the quarter pole he moved together with Talk of the Nation, one of the top 3yo turf horses right now. Turf King rightfully tried to sneak through on the inside while the favorite went three wide. Unfortunately a couple of big longshots were backing up on him and he couldn’t get through cleanly. He didn’t have to check or anything, but it definitely cost him all the momentum and allowed the other rivals to get the jump. He finally found a little daylight to the inside in the final furlong where the chute meets the homestretch. If you watch the head on, you’ll see that he went too far inside, and the jockey had to bump into the tiring pacesetter to avoid hitting the rail. He stayed on well to the wire after that even though it was much too late to make an impact and I was impressed he kept trying to the wire despite all the trouble.
His race two back was another where he had subtle trouble, but he was still able to get the job done that day. And that race is likely rated too low as nearly the whole field has returned and improved their Beyer figures. Today’s race should be an easier spot for him and he’s already proven he can win on the synthetic. He should have an honest pace in front of him and the stretch-out to 8.5 furlongs should only help him. I’m hoping the morning line of 2-1 holds up as I would key my whole day around him at that price.
Race 7: #1 Fortyfiveseventy 20-1
I won’t be surprised if Wonder Wheel wins, but I feel like you’re supposed to try and beat her. I know she had a rough trip in the Oaks , but she’s been pretty disappointing all year and I don’t want to take 3/5 on a filly that’s never tried the synthetic before, even if her pedigree suggests she can handle it. I want to take a small chance on a big price with Fortyfivesevent at 20-1. This filly is definitely light on figures, hence the big price, but I think she’s sitting on a peak effort third off the bench and stretching out after back-to-back seven furlong races. She ran fine two back, but is clearly a filly who needs a race off the bench and she returned with a much-improved effort last time out. She sat right behind the speed on the fence until the stretch when she tipped out, took control, and slowly inched away from the field. It’s the same trip I’m hoping she gets today with the rail draw and a potential fast pace. I love the two sprints to a route angle and she already proved last year she’ll handle the distance when she broke her maiden by over seven lengths. Big class test, but I think she’s worth a shot and is definitely usable underneath in the exotics.
Race 8: #6 Oceanic 6-1
One Timer is certainly the horse to beat, I think this six furlong distance is juuuust a tad further than he wants since it looks like he’ll have company up front. If the 1 and/or 9 scratch, I’ll likely pivot to him. For now, I’ll take a gelding who I think will love this trip and that’s Oceanic. I’m willing to give him one more shot today, because his best is probably better than anything we’ve seen from the rest of this field. Those races include a second to Golden Pal and beaten less than a length to Caravel. He lost all chance last time when he broke poorly at Horseshoe, it’s nearly impossible to close that much ground at that trip. Two back he didn’t have the greatest of trips at Churchill, but he definitely didn’t run his race either. The turf course can be tricky there so maybe he just didn’t like it. I believe this six furlong trip at Woodbine is perfect for him and he will love the long home stretch, just like he loved the Colonial configuration last summer. He should get the set-up he needs, and Reylu climbs aboard for the first time which can’t hurt his chances. If he’s still the same horse he figures to show it today, and I think we’ll get paid if we’re right.
Race 9: #1 War Bomber 20-1
This gelding will likely get overlooked after getting beat by several of these last time, but I won’t be shocked if he runs much better today. Last time was ambitious race placement for his first start of the year and he was right up there with the fast pace. If you look at his entire career, he’s always made a big jump on figures from start one to start two of his campaigns so there’s no reason he can’t do the same today with that race under his belt. And it’s not like he walked across the finish line, he still put in a good enough performance to suggest he can get back to the form of last year. And he was pretty darn good last year, hitting the board in a trio of graded stakes over this surface including a victory in the Seagram Cup. Timeform US has this rated as a fast pace that should favor the closers, but I’m not sure I agree. War Bomber and Treason look like the two clear speeds to me with a dropoff to the rest, and they both have run well sitting off other rivals. I won’t be surprised if they stay out of each other’s way and this pace ends up slower than anticipated.
Race 10: #1 Sister Lou Ann 20-1
I promise I’m not blindly picking longshots drawn on the fence, but I’m picking yet another one to close out the Stakes action. Sister Lou Ann showed much improvement in her first start as a four year old when she ran a good second to Flirting Bridge at Keeneland while over four lengths clear of third. Flirting Bridge would return to finish a respectable fourth in the Grade 1 New York despite a dawdling pace so bonus points for the company lines. The two rivals closest to Lou Ann early in the race would finish last and second to last so the pace was definitely honest. The Beyer figure for that race was probably too low since all but one horse came back and improved on that number, several of them pretty substantially. However, Timeform US gave her a 117 for that performance. That is right on par with the best performances of all of the favorites in this race and she’ll be 10 times the price. A little concerning she hasn’t been seen since, but they sent her to Woodbine early to get three works over the track so this spot has clearly been circled on their calendar for some time. I’m not sure if she can get loose, but this cozy rail draw will ensure she’ll save all the ground and I have a hard time envisioning them going too fast early. Bombs away?