The dapper gentleman to the left is George W. Strawbridge Jr., owner of Augustin Stable's and Smart Bid, The Turk's chalk in today's Sky Classic at Woodbine.
The Turk and the Little Turk are quite fond of Mr. Strawbridge for many reasons. He is a sportsman of the highest quality, a true horseman, and his support of the Buffalo Sabres, perhaps saving the franchise in its lowest moments will never be forgotten. I'm also a big fan of Campbell's Chicken Gumbo soup, even the low sodium variety.
I went to Church this morning and as I sat in quiet meditation all I could focus on was how poorly I handicapped the Arlington Million Day Pick 5; Horrendous. I have other things going on today but nothing was as important to me than handicapping the Woodbine card and getting my feet back under me. I can live with getting the races wrong, that happens, I just felt like a hack yesterday and this is the equivalent of taking a nice shower.
Woodbine has a better purse structure than Arlington and has a pretty nice turf course to boot. The two tracks have quite a bit in common for me, as the poly plays pretty fair at both and the turf tracks have the most European feel in North America.
Let's get after today's featured race, the Grade 2 Sky Classic, contested at 1 1/4 miles on firm turf.
Woodbine Race 8: The Sky Classic Grade 2: 1 1/4 Miles on Firm Turf for 3 YO and Up.
This is a nice field of 8 runners with a legitimate 4 or 5 potential winners. I'm making my tentative chalk Smart Bid. Hard to believe but this Smart Strike son is now 6 YO. 2 places in 3 starts at the distance, 10 of 15 in the money on turf and 8 of his last 13 in the money. Cutting back 2 panels from his winning effort in late July. All or nothing I fear, ran a solid place in last year's edition.
Hotep is the type of horse that is always in contention. You must always be aware of his presence. 5 YO A.P. Indy son, born in Ontario, with P. Husbands up for Trainer Malcom Pierce who also sends the former Queen's Plate Winner Eye of the Leopard to the gate. Only 1 win in six tries on the turf, no attempts at the distance, he comes in off a sharp Nijinsky Grade 2 loss by a neck.
The former Prince of Wales stakes winner, Pendor Harbor, with Contreras up, is also trying the distance for the first time but has two wins over WO turf and has been running strong this year. Trainer DePaulo has a goose egg in his Graded Stakes tries over past year.
Scalo (GB) is the 2010 German Horse of the Year. He tries North America and gets a shot of Lasix for the first time. First time going LH in nine races and hasn't run on firm turf in some time. I'm covering him from Place down but betting he doesn't take the win spot today (and giving myself good odds to look foolish-gotta love public handicapping).
New Hall of Fame member Roger Attfield places A. Solis up on Forte Dei Marmi (GB). The two are winless in 17 tries over past year and winless in 7 tries at Woodbine. The six year old Selkirk gelding closes like a freight train with a devastating turn of foot. 4 wins in 12 tries at the distance, another feast or famine type.
I feel better already. Have fun friends, Turk Out!