Woodbine Spot Plays 08/17/23 By Jackson Muniz

Race 4: #7 Amazon Forester (20-1)

I’m interested to see how the race shape takes place in this spot since it appears that the large majority of this field wants to sit just off the pace. The only horse that legitimately wants to close from the back is #3 Star Scholar (7/2) but he’s going to be a short price and is completely untrustworthy as he’s winless in 21 starts. I want to take a bigger price in this field since they all look about the same and my pick will be #7 Amazon Forester. 

This gelding should be a massive price based on his recent form, but I think you could make excuses for his last three starts. Three back, he sat right off the pace but had to check nearing the stretch and he was non-responsive after that. Two back, he contested a hot pace throughout the race and again lost some momentum in the stretch that cost him the race. I doubt he would have won that day, but I do think he would’ve finished much closer. No idea what happened last time(possibly bled), but he had a workout over the turf just five days after that performance so he must be no worse for the wear and ready to rebound. 

This will be his first start over the turf course, but his pedigree suggests it shouldn’t be a problem and he’s worked twice over the grass so they must’ve seen something they liked. I still think he can get back to the debut race against much tougher opponents when he finished a decent fourth against King’s Plate contender Kaukokaipuu. He’s getting lasix for the first time and a jockey upgrade to Wilson. Bombs away!

Race 5: #1 Last Monarch (8-1)

#8 Chairman Rainbow is the morning line favorite, but he seems like a favorite worth taking on since he’s regressed speed figure wise in every start this year. #6 Arafat seems like another that’ll take money based on his standout figures on the turf course, but those performances came nearly two years ago so who knows what kind of performance you’ll get today (though he is worth considering if his odds drift up). 

#1 Last Monarch seems like a good gamble if you can get the 8-1 offered on the morning line. He actually defeated the morning line favorite last time so I won’t be surprised if he gets bet down, but I think around 9/2 is still a fair price. He drew well for this five furlong dash and should be able to save ground throughout sitting just off the pace. I love the race-to-race progression he’s shown on the Beyer scale, improving eight points from start 1 to 2, and improving six points from start 2 to 3. There’s no reason this lightly raced 4 year old can’t continue to improve, especially with the switch to the turf course. He’s lost ground in the lane in both starts this year at slightly longer so this cutback to five furlongs should be to his benefit. Chubb wins at only 10%, but has a good ROI in nearly all the relevant categories so let’s take a shot with the Monarch to kick off King’s Plate week. 

Race 6: #7 Starlight Ridge (10-1)

In a race where there should be plenty of early speed(#1-3, and #5), let’s take a shot with a mare that should be closing late in #7 Starlight Ridge (10-1). She’s got some of the best late pace figures in the race, and while she’s an inconsistent sort, her best efforts(especially on synthetic)  put her in the thick of things from a speed figure perspective. She’s another that could take plenty of money given the competitive speed figures and favorable set-up on paper, but I still think she offers value around 5-1. 

Race 7: #3 Storming Lady (6-1)

This mare was once a 5 furlong turf specialist on the So-Cal circuit and I think she warrants a long look in this spot. Recently she’s been running on the dirt at Fort Erie and has actually been running pretty good in those races, against arguably tougher competition. This is definitely her preferred trip however and it’s good to see that they’re still running her for the same price that they claimed her for. I don’t think they’re going to necessarily fly up front-but the pace should at least be honest with the presence of #4,6, and 7. The biggest question mark is if she’ll handle the turf course up here, but she’s run well enough at multiple tracks and surfaces to suggest that this new assignment shouldn’t be a problem. 

Race 8: #2 Onandonandon (10-1)

I’ll be very surprised if this filly doesn’t get bet down from this 10-1 price on the morning line since her debut was quite good and most of these she’s facing are pretty exposed. The DRF morning line maker has her at 5-1 and that seems more realistic, but we’ll obviously take higher if we can get it. She was sharp out of the gate in her debut and chased a runaway leader in between horses down the backside. It was difficult to tell if she was shuffled or the rider took back, but either way she fell back to fourth nearing the far turn. She found herself between a different pair of runners on the turn where the rider did take up slightly, costing her another length of position. She was ready to roll nearing the top of the stretch, but had to tap on the brakes yet again and eventually squeezed her way between rivals, exchanging multiple bumps to finally get clear. She rallied, but by that point the top two had gotten the jump and she had to settle for third. She showed a lot of resilience in that race and the blinkers will go on for her second start. The lead looks like it’s hers if she wants, but it’s nice to know she can pass rivals if necessary. 

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