Woodbine Spot Plays 08/24/23 By Jackson Muniz

Race 3: #4 Social Drinker (10-1)

I don’t have any significant knocks on the favorite #8 Smart Bird (8/5). She has the best speed figures coming into this spot and drew a good outside post. However, I have a hard time envisioning her getting an easy lead in this spot and she doesn’t exactly like to pass horses in the lane. I’m going to try and beat her at what will likely be a short price. 

#4 Social Drinker seems like an upset candidate from off the pace. As I mentioned earlier, the pace should be lively in this spot as several of these want to be forwardly placed. She has the best late pace figures in the field by a comfortable margin which could be a big advantage given the pace scenario. Last time she finished well behind the favorite, but I thought the race wasn’t as bad as it looked on paper. She made a big move on the turn to reach contention in the stretch and just could not maintain that momentum in the final furlong. That race was at seven furlongs, she’s cutting back a furlong and a half today which should help her sustain that late rally through the finish line. And finally she’s been stuck on the rail in three of her five starts and finished nowhere in all of those. Her two races where she wasn’t on the rail produced a first and a second. No idea if that’s a coincidence or not but it’s certainly worth mentioning. 

Race 6: #4 War Court (6-1)

#4 War Court (6-1) is another who could get a good set-up from off the pace in this smaller field. The three morning line favorites all do their best running on the lead or pressing the pace and could compromise each other. War Court and #2 Like the King clearly have the best late pace figures in the field, though War Court defeated that foe two races back and offers better value on the morning line. He has run well in both starts this year and has nearly paired up Beyer tops, suggesting he could take a step forward in this race. He raced himself into shape last year as he continuously improved his figures with racing. If he can continue to do that this campaign, especially getting more distance to work with, then he can post a mild upset. 

Race 8: #8 Serenade Bay (10-1)

On paper, this seems like a very sub-par group for the level. #5 Top of the Mornin (5/2) deserves to be favored based on her debut against infinitely tougher foes. My problem is her two starts since then haven’t been nearly as good. The form of the race two back hasn’t held up and her race last time was just bad so I don’t trust her at a short price. #6 Lulu’s Lullaby (4-1) wants to go further and it doesn’t seem like she’ll get sufficient pace in front of her. And #3 Miss Bikini (3-1) has failed to hit the board both starts at this level and will take money with Kimura riding. 

#8 Serenade Bay (10-1) deserves a look based on her form as a two year old. She’s much less exposed than the others and she probably deserves a look on that merit alone. But her two races weren’t terrible, as she earned 35 and 36 Beyers in those starts. Those figures really aren’t far off from what her rivals have been running, and if you factor in natural improvement from age two to three, she could easily make some noise. She lost ground in the lane in both those races so the cutback to five furlongs makes sense. She appears to have been working well over the turf course in preparation for her comeback and the break in the weights can’t hurt her chances.

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