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Stakes Analysis: $750K Woodward and $350K Spinaway
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2018
Is it Saturday? Then it's another big day of racing in Saratoga Springs, New York. Last week, it was the Travers, this week it's the Woodward. Hopefully, we can live up to the bar we set last week when our Saratoga picks paid out more than $29,000
We begin with the highest profile race of the weekend, the $750,000, Grade 1, Woodward Stakes. Fourteen horses head to the gates for the 11th, running 1 1/8 on the dirt. In our weekly bias report, we found that a heavy dose of Saratoga's 1 1/8th dirt races were won in wire-to-wire fashion.
In our Woodward Stakes Wagering Guide, we highlighted the following pace observation, "Despite the obvious speed bias, 36% wire-to-wire winners, there are no true front runners in this group. Term of Art just recently switched from more of closing style to racing near/on the lead in his last two. Leofric took his first swing at early speed in his last race. The other possibility is Sunny Ridge joins the early movers. Other than that, The Woodward is likely to have moderate early fractions and a pack of mad rushing horses coming late."
Can a longshot like TERM OF ART (PP: 6 - ML 30-1) or LEOFRIC (PP: 11 - ML 20-1) steal the Woodward with easy fractions? We don't think so, but we do think SUNNY RIDGE (PP: 12 - ML 8-1) could be a factor from the beginning to the end of the race. Watch Sunny Ridge take the 2018 State Dinner Stakes:
"The Play" according to our wagering guide is "With the exception of a couple of horses, a case can be made for how most of the entrants could win. SUNNY RIDGE has the most paths to the victory in our view. He can rate and he can run early. Plus, he knows how to get to the tape first, winning six of 13 on fast dirt. GUNNEVERA has the highest ceiling in the race. If he hits his peak and repeats his 24-point speed bump from his last second off a layoff race, it's easy to make a case for an inthe-money finish. SEEKING THE SOUL strings together quality starts, four straight 100 and better speed ratings. Consistently in the mix to the tune of $1.4 million in prize money. Twenty-to-one seems like way too much value to overlook for a horse, ZANOTTI, that's finished first or second in nine of his last 10."
That's a nice ticket to cash if we have it right. Get our exacta and trifecta recommendations in our 6-page Woodward wagering guide.
Before the Woodward, the Grade 1, $350,000 Spinaway Stakes looks like a very competitive race, and a good one for betting value too. Twelve two-year old fillies will dash 7-furlongs on the dirt track. Again, it's a distance/surface with a heavy speed bias, 34% of the 44 7-furlong dirt races belong to wire-to-wire victors. Find the fastest horse, and you probably have the winning ticket.
And there are plenty of ladies that want to get out of the gate in a flash. We believe, "With a deep field full of two-year-olds, it's likely many of the lower-quality stalkers will look to join the front-runners early. We wouldn't be surprised to see the leading horse run an opening quarter in/or around 21.5, and then the 1/2 around 45. That pace should open the door for the quality, mid-pack stalkers as the winning style."
Watch American Pharoah's half-sister CHASING YESTERDAY win her Del Mar debut.
Oh, do tell what you foresee, you say? Our wagering guide says "From our viewpoint, it looks as if CHASING YESTERDAY and CATHERINETHEGREAT are the two best horses in the field and have the highest ceiling. Baffert's YESTERDAY looks like she toyed with the others in her debut, just waiting to take command on cue. CATHERINE'S last outing threatened a triple-digit speed rating in her third, lifetime start. RESTLESS RIDER race-to-race improvement says she offer her best today, and she doesn't know what it means to. She won't give in easy. A better start for NONNA MADELINE and we might find out why the public picked her over CATHERINETHEGREAT last out."
Best of luck!
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