Pony Picks 10/18: Woodbine Race Track
Odds.com’s Horse Racing Picks for Oct. 18th: Yesterday, it was a chalky day everywhere when it came to the stakes races. At Keeneland, favorite Venetian Harbor was given a gift when Four Graces decided to rate (it worked terribly). Being left alone on the lead, Venetian Harbor got the job done but considering the dynamics, I thought she ‘held on’ more than ‘finished and won’ the race, thus leaving something to be desired.
At Woodbine, odds-on favorite Souper Sensational went to the lead and opened up to be an easy winner for trainer Mark Casse who won five races at Woodbine yesterday. At Belmont, Lead Guitar took all the money after morning-line favorite Mitchell Road scratched and was best. She made the first move into an honest pace and had just enough to hold on by a length on a turf course listed as ‘soft’. At Santa Anita, Warren’s Showtime went off at odds-on and delivered in the Autumn Miss giving her trainer Craig Lewis his 1,000th career win.
Today, Woodbine leads the way with multiple graded stakes including a pair of grade one’s. Let’s look at some races:
Woodbine 5th: Nakamura can turn tables 3:29 pm Et
The Woodbine 5th is the grade one Northern Dancer for three-year-olds and up going 1 ½ miles on turf. Six of the eight runners come out of the grade three Singspiel including morning-line favorite Count Again who was the upset winner of that race and was lucky to survive an inquiry after drifting in. Sir Sahib who finished second was impacted by interference as he lost his path in the stretch.
On the winning end, Sir Sahib is hard to trust as he is still eligible for an N3L and various allowance conditions having won just 2 of 20 races. Count Again is lightly raced thus he can still improve. That said, you’ll get a fraction of the 9-1 price this time and of all the horses in the Singspiel, he got the best trip.
New face Admiralty Pier was facing tougher last time in the grade one Woodbine Mile and appears to be the controlling speed. The obvious question with him is distance as he hasn’t gone past 1 1/16 miles. I wouldn’t let him beat me as the controlling speed but he’ll likely lack betting appeal with the distance question.
The horse I prefer is Nakamura (3-1 ML) who was one of the favorites in the Singspiel and he made the first move into a pace that did not hold together. Note that Count Again, Sir Sahib, and third-place finisher Say the Word all rallied from off the pace thus they were all with the race flow. Nakamura has yet to win at this distance but he has hit the board in all five of his tries including in some tough graded stakes such as three starts ago when he was just two lengths behind Zulu Alpha.
Woodbine 7th: Secret Message can rebound 4:37 pm Et
The Woodbine 7th is the grade one E.P. Taylor for fillies and mares three-year-olds and up going 1 ¼ miles on turf. The top three finishers of the Dance Smartly and multiple horses from the Canadian make up the body of the field.
In the Dance Smartly, Theodora B. led every step of the way to pull the 11-1 upset. She was able to win again in the interim at Kentucky Downs when again getting everything her own way. Perhaps she can win again but her price will be unappealing to find out if she’ll get another perfect trip. Etoile who was favored in the Dance Smartly and is the morning-line favorite today had every chance to win and didn’t as she has now failed twice as the favorite since coming to North America. At a short price, Etoile is unappealing. Elizabeth Way lacked room in the stretch of the Dance Smartly but note she also competed in the Canadian and did no running.
In the Canadian, Rideforthecause was a decisive winner at 22-1. She beat the heavy favorite Cambier Parc who was making her first start of the year. Note Cambier Parc came back to do no running in a stake at Belmont last weekend. The third-place finisher in the Canadian, Court Return, who also runs today, was 30-1 thus as a whole the Canadian doesn’t rate that great of a race. Nevertheless, Rideforthecause is still lightly raced, has won two straight, and even if the Canadian wasn’t the strongest, she did what she was supposed to against a weak field and dominate. Consider her the alternative.
|Woodbine 7th||Secret Message||6-1|
I prefer new face Secret Message (6-1 ML) who won the Nassau at Woodbine last year when defeating eventual Canadian horse of the year, Starship Jubilee. Yes, she typically elects for shorter distances but her lone start at today’s distance, in this race last year, saw her break poorly from post 10 and she was farther back than she normally is. This year, Secret Message won a grade three at Churchill and ran decent races at Keeneland and Saratoga. She did not have to love Kentucky Downs last time and can rebound in this spot.
Woodbine 10th: Gospel Way has faced better 6:18 pm Et
The Woodbine 10th is the Display Stakes for two-year-olds going seven furlongs on synthetic. I am against the filly Rocket Reload who broke her maiden going five furlongs on the inner turf when setting the pace. She has to prove she can get today’s added distance, is not likely to get the lead, and her one race on synthetic, albeit her debut, wasn’t very good.
The two morning-line favorites Maclean’s Posse and Helium both look very similar on paper. They both won their debuts and are making their second career starts. Both were widening their leads in the stretch and both were not overly bet as they both went off at higher than 5-1 odds. The horse who finished second to Maclean’s Posse has come back to win. Helium has the added benefit of seeing his win come at today’s distance whereas Maclean’s Posse win came at just 5.5 furlongs. Both are capable of winning this race but are going to take money based on their flashy debuts.
|Woodbine 10th||Gospel Way||6-1|
I prefer Gospel Way (6-1 ML) who beat a pair of next out winners in his debut three starts ago. In his two most recent races, both stakes, he has finished behind Ready to Repeat twice, Gretzky the Great and Master Spy. Master Spy came back to win the Cup and Saucer last weekend and Gretzky the Great and Ready to Repeat came back to run 1-2 in the grade one Summer. Gospel Way has faced much better horses, has more seasoning, and at a better price, I’d rather bet him than the two flashy maiden winners who will take money despite stepping up in class.