Woodbine Spot Plays 08/20/23 By Jackson Muniz

Race 1: Lord of War (9/5)

I don’t usually give out shorter priced horses but this runner made my “Horses To Watch” list after his last start and looks formidable. He was wide on both turns last time and made the first move into a red hot pace. He stuck around to the very end though, just barely getting run down at the wire in a race completely dominated by closers. He should have a much easier time of it on the front end in this small field, and the surface switch won’t hurt him. He offers value at even money or higher.

Race 5: #7 Forever Dixie (8-1)

This is filly is just three years old so she definitely has more upside than the rest of this field and this is the time of year when the younger ones start catching up. She demonstrated quality as a two year old when she finished second in a listed stake and fourth in a Grade 2. Both those races came over this track, so it should’ve been no surprise when she took a step forward last time in her first try against older. She got a good tracking trip and took over with authority once the real running started and completely overmatched that group. Slight step up in class today, but she should get another great tracking trip in this spot, sitting just off the 3 and 6. With any kind of progression from start one to two of her campaign, she can have a major say at a juicy 8-1.

Race 7: #9 Old Chestnut (4-1)

This contender ran better than the running line indicates in his latest start. He went wide into the far turn, but still made up ground and was finishing until the final 50 yards when he got shut off and lost all momentum. He wasn’t going to win but it definitely cost him at least a length so he definitely would’ve finished closer. That race was a Grade 2 on the turf, this is a slightly easier assignment. He’s also switching to the synthetic which hasn’t been a problem for him this year and the cutback should be to his benefit. He drew well towards the outside and he should get a great stalking trip in a field that really doesn’t have too much speed.

Race 10: #2 Elysian Field (8-1)

Fillies have won this race four of the past nine years and I’m hoping that trend continues with Elysian Field. She was super impressive in the Woodbine Oaks when she blew away that field by over two lengths. She got a good ground-saving trip that day, but did encounter some brief trouble in the far turn that she overcame quickly. She drifted out a bit in the stretch, suggesting she might’ve been getting tired, but she maintained her advantage on the gallop out so perhaps this 10 furlong trip won’t be an issue. That was also her first time stretching out in a while so she had a right to get a little tired and it’s not like anyone else here is proven at this distance. She drew inside again today so she should get a similar trip to last time and the pace will be honest in this big field.  She’s steadily improved her speed figures in every single synthetic start so who knows where her ceiling is?

Race 12: #6 Western Whirl (8-1)

Twirling Candy colt made my “Horse To Watch” list after his debut when he finished third. He showed sharp early speed out of the gate that day and sat second throughout. He moved up in the far turn to challenge for the lead but was in between horses and looked dead in the water as they turned for home. He dropped back to 5th or 6th with 3/16 to go but battled gamely to the wire to re-really for third. He actually defeated the two horses that were up front with him early and surrounded him on the turn, and both were logical contenders (4/5 and 7-1).  He’s getting more ground to work with today and he should be a square price.

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