TORONTO – In addition to Saturday’s big Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” (WAYI) Woodbine Mile featuring the talented Tepin, Woodbine Racing has a big weekend in store for horseplayers.
A second WAYI race on Saturday is the Grade 1 Northern Dancer and Sunday’s card includes two Breeders’ Cup qualifiers in the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes for fillies and the Grade 2 $200,000 Summer Stakes, both at a mile.
The News will be at Woodbine covering the Mile for Saturday and Sunday print editions, be sure to check for the advance and post race recap.
The last four races on Saturday into the Mile is a $250,000 guaranteed Pick-4 for horseplayers. Post time for the first of 12 races on Saturday is 1:00 p.m. The Mile is scheduled as Race 12 and is set to go at 6:39 p.m. ET.
The card also offers an early Pick-4 with a guaranteed pool of $150,000. The late Pick-5 has a guaranteed $100,000 and a $0.20 minimum.
Let’s take a look at the four races leading into the Mile in the late Pick-5.
Race 8 – $300,000 Grade 2 Canadian Stakes (62nd running) Post Time: 4:30 p.m. 1 1/8-miles (Turf)
If there is a single on the card, other than Tepin, it’s in here with 2-Dacita (2-1). The winner of the Grade 1 Diana looks to be the class of the field of seven fillies and mares. Chad Brown also entered third place Diana finisher 5-Rainha Da Bateria (3-1) and has two of the top three horses on the morning line. Irish-bred 3-Steip Amach (5-2) ships in from France finishing third in two Group 1 races at Deauville. She will run without lasix. Last year's winner 4-Strut the Course (6-1) is also entered. I’m confident in the Dacita single here.
Race 9 – Maiden Optional Claimer ($40K) Post Time: 5:01 p.m. 6 1/2-furlongs (Tapeta)
My top choice in here is 2-Butler’s Pick (7-2) with Eurico Rosa da Silva (winning at 23 percent at WO) who has a race under his belt. The gelding was well bet in his debut and seems to be ready in his second career race. 6-Just Reno (8-1) has a bad start in his last out, and is a contender who has hit the board in 4-of-7 career races. 8-Sir Bronx (3-1) sports speed figures that are right on par with the probable winner. We’ll also throw in debut runner 1-River Ring Echo (20-1, first time lasix), gelding 9-Teiaiagon (4-1) and 10-Archer’s Triumph’s (12-1) to try and catch a price. Going six deep in the second leg.
Race 10 – $300,000 Grade 1 Northern Dancer (11th running) Post Time: 5:31 p.m. 1 1/2-miles (Turf)
This BC qualifying race drew seven males and the mare 1-Button Down (GB). This race appears to be wide open. Typically I’d lean toward to the Euros, but 2-Big Blue Kitten (4-1), 4-Wake Forest (5-2) and 6-World Approval (2-1) look to be the top three in here. The last two Breeders’ Stakes winners at Woodbine are also in the field (Danish Dynaformer and Camp Creek) both will be looking to make some noise for the hometown crowd. We’ll stick with 2,4,6 in the third leg of the Pick-4.
Race 11 - $58,600 Allowance Post Time: 6:04 p.m. 1 1/16-miles (Tapeta)
A field of 10 are led by the two outside horses, 9-Divine Sonet (3-1) and 10-Seeking the Bay (5-2), both A's in the Pick-5 sequence. Both are Woodbine vets and have run well on the Tapeta. With two top local jocks aboard, hard to go anywhere else. We'll throw in 7-Csonka (6-1) with Boulanger in the irons based on the bad Bills week we've experienced.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.