Woodbine Spot Plays 07/15/23 By Jackson Muniz

Keep an eye on the weather for today’s card since they are expecting rain throughout the day. Hopefully they’ll stay on the turf as we have a trio of turf sprint selections.

Race 4: #1 Sacred Dancer (4-1)

Timeform US has this heat as a race that will favor the frontrunners, but I think there’s a good chance the two speeds get in each other’s way. #4 American Gamble and #5 Mimi’s Golden Ring have a similar early speed, maybe slight edge to the #5, and could go fast early. When they ran in the same race back in May, Mimi was faster early but ’Gamble challenged her early on the turn and probably cost the former the race. Today they’re flopping post positions so I’m expecting American Gamble to be hard sent since she’s drawn inside of the main pace rival. Doesn’t hurt that she’s drawn directly inside either, those two could duel from the opening of the gates. 

I think #1 Sacred Dancer could get a perfect trip drafting right behind those leaders. All her best races have come when she’s able to sit that pace stalking trip and there’s an excellent chance that’s how this race will unfold. Toss her last start when she was 97-1 against stakes foes and focus on her three prior races. She has a victory and a couple decent fourths at this level and this six furlong distance should be the sweet spot for her. She’s clearly better this year since she’s broken the 90 Timeform US mark in three starts, something she had never done before. And 90 Timeform US is approximately what it’ll take to win this race, based on the recent form of these gals. 

Furthermore, nobody else in this field excites me. The #2 and #7 have big late kicks, but usually leave themselves too much to do, and #6 needs to step it up on figures. #3 My Sunny Valentine makes sense, but she’s going to be a short price, she’s coming off a layoff, and she doesn’t have any speed figure edge against this field so she’s not for me.  Give me #1 Sacred Dancer around those 4-1 odds. 

Race 6: #1 Luz de La Una (6-1)

Check back for scratches, but if this field stays intact then there should be a hot pace to set it up for a come-from-behinder. I am interested in #7 Breathing Fire (12-1) if the ML holds up, but this just feels like a filly that will take plenty of money second off the layoff and having the best form last year against much tougher competition. She was also basically the same price as today’s favorite in her last start and didn’t poorly at all considering the layoff. 

Assuming Breathing Fire gets bet big, my top pick will be #1 Luz de La Una (6-1). This filly is coming off a convincing victory at this level over the synthetic and will try to replicate that performance over the turf course. And that shouldn’t be an issue for her considering how well she ran two back on the turf. She was up close stalking the pace, moved into contention to take the lead in the stretch and just got tired late to finish a solid third at a huge price. That race was at seven furlongs, today’s heat will be six. She may have to make a run from further back than she has been recently, but she had a couple of victories from the clouds last year so I’m not expecting that to be an issue. She’s paired up Timeform US figures of 95, suggesting this four year old could be sitting on a career best performance at a square price. 

Race 10: #1 Guard of Honor (8-1)

The inside better be the place to be today because I like yet another turf horse drawn on the rail in the Saturday finale. This is an awesome betting race with so many ways to go, I ultimately settled on a gelding that I think will be flying from the back. It’s a big field with plenty of speed to give him some help up front and he should be able to save all the ground. I know he’s 0 for 12 and that can make him untrustworthy, but he is trying something new today(or at least something he hasn’t done in awhile) which I think could be a difference maker. He is finally cutting back to one turn after several tries over a route of ground. He has lost ground late in his last five races, all going two turns, and he was right there in contention until the late stages in all of those races. The last time he went one turn on the grass he finished an excellent second, but even that race was 8.5 furlongs. Today is only seven and I think it could make all the difference for this gelding.


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