With a bit of remorse, the meet at Saratoga and Delmar are all but over. As the days grow shorter, the temperature dips lower, and the horse racing world marches towards the Breeders Cup, the Turk turns his eye northward where some great racing takes place, Woodbine.
The Woodbine Mile, one of the highlights of the race season for me every year, is two weeks from today. The racing is top notch at this venue and I encourage readers of the Turk to pay attention to these Canadian runners or risk missing out on some high quality shippers into our American tracks.
Race 8 WO: The Vice Regent; 1 Mile on Ontario Turf for 3 YOs sired by Ontario Stallion
An interesting collection of runners enter this race, 11 horses in all. Most had some early success on poly track, some competed in the some very high level racing only to slip back and find themselves trying the turf for the first or second time. There is 17 turf starts in this group and 5 turf wins. So what does it all mean?
Costalivin, 10 of 12 lifetime in the money, tries the turf for the first time today, normally a big red flag, but gets my tentative chalk designation. Coming off a poly win at 7f, there is lots to like; Trainer Ross is clicking away at 29% win rate at WO this meet, his Turf win rate is 25%, poly to turf cross over is 29% and the combo of Jock Mcaleney and Trainer Ross hits at 67% clip this meet and 55% over past year. On the ugly side is Trainer Ross's zero 1st Turf wins. Last raced on 15 July, has been training well on Turf and looks to have been prepped for this race with a longer term goal in mind.
From the 10 gate breaks Parabola, 4 of 11 lifetime in the money and tied for the race high best turf BSF at 82. Freshened up after an early August race at 1 1/2 miles on Turf (which several of these runners ran in), he had a nice effort at 1 1/16 on Turf in early July, his last win. Trainer Minshall and Jock Sutherland hit 38% of the time this meet. Looking for a finish in top 4.
Mr. Foricos Two U has stumbled a bit since a place finish at the Queens Plate in June. The gelding with Jock Husbands up is a very high quality animal who maybe needed a break after a few grueling efforts, but instead turned in flat and fading efforts. The most likely post time chalk, I'll be looking for his quality to carry him into the ticket but a reversal of current form will be needed for a win.
A trio of horses fill out the next tier that will compete for a spot on the Super tickets I'm filling out. I think the best of the bunch for this race is Jet Set Exec. A turf winner, Trainer Black hits 28% of his turf races and does well switching between sprints and routes. Coming off a 6 1/2 furlong win on the Turf at Woodbine.
Me the Sea and G T and Paso Doble will be competitive as well.
I'm leaning towards a matrix of bet combinations, essentially a box bet, but I'll eliminate many of the possibilities and slim down the cost of bet significantly. As always, build a base handicap well before the post parade, watch the horses if possible, look at the tote board odds 5-7 minutes before post and make adjustments as necessary. Weigh the risk versus reward in your mind before placing any bet.
On an unrelated note, the Turk witnessed greatness yesterday with Rachel Alexandra winning the Woodward in champions fashion. Macho Again came hard at the filly and as they approached the wire it appeared that Rachel Alexandra began accelerating again. An incredible roar came out of the Saratoga crowd which reminded me that horse racing isn't dead yet.
Have fun. Turk Out!