The 1 1/8-mile Woodward Stakes (G1) drew a field of nine older horses.
Three horses, returning Woodward champ Yoshida, Vino Rosso, and Preservationist own graded stakes victories. We will analyze the pros and cons of each horse when betting at the Woodward Stakes.
Post time for Race 11, the Woodward Stakes, is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET Saturday. The main track will be fast, and no rain is in the forecast.
Betting Favorites And Long-Shots In the Woodward Stakes (G1)
Let’s take a pro/con look at the betting favorites and logical long-shots for this race.
|#7 YOSHIDA (JPN)||(5-2) +250|
|#5 PRESERVATIONIST||(7-2) +350|
|#9 TOM’S D’ETAT||(4-1) +400|
|#3 VINO ROSSO||(7-2) +350|
|#8 WOODERSON||(12-1) +1200|
|#1 MR. BUFF||(12-1) +800|
|#2 BAL HARBOUR||(15-1) +1500|
|#4 MONGOLIAN GROOM||(151) +1500|
|#6 FOREWARNED||(30-1) +3000|
#7 YOSHIDA (JPN) (5-2) (+250)
- Pros: Yoshida is the returning Woodward champ, and both performances over the main track were strong. Trainer Bill Mott conditioned the great Cigar to consecutive Woodward victories in 1995 – 1996.
- Cons: Yoshida is gunning to be the first horse since 2006 to earn back-to-back victories in the Woodward.
- The Play: Yoshida will go to the post at low odds, and deservedly so.
#5 PRESERVATIONIST (7-2) (+350)
- Pros: Preservationist has finished in the money in eight of nine-lifetime starts. In his first foray into graded stakes company, the Jimmy Jerkens trainee pulled an upset victory over the favorite, Catholic Boy, a Grade 1 winner.
- Cons: He set a quick pace in the Whitney, hounded by eventual winner McKinzie, and finished out of the money the only time of his career. He looked tired and washed-out.
- The Play: Preservationist is tractable, he can set the lead or press the pace. If he settles off the pace which will likely be set by Mr. Buff, Preservationist can return to his winning ways.
#9 TOM’S D’ETAT (4-1) (+400)
- Pros: Tom’s d Etat loves this track. He has a perfect 3-for-3 record at Saratoga. He’s the model of consistency and has finished out of the money just twice in two years.
- Cons: Tom’s d Etat is still looking for that breakthrough win at the graded stakes level. In his only two graded stakes starts, the Albert Stall, Jr. trainee was beaten a combined 6 3/4-lengths.
- The Play: Tom’s d Etat can lead or press the pace. He has to prove he can run with the big boys, but you have to admire his reliability at picking up a paycheck. Don’t discount a horse who loves Saratoga.
#3 VINO ROSSO (7-2) (+350)
- Pros: Vino Rosso has plenty of back class. He won the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) two races back, but he was a disappointing third in the Whitney Stakes (G1) at Saratoga after a wide trip. Vino Rosso posted a five-furlong workout on Wednesday in :58.60, the best of 22 works of the day.
- Cons: Vino Rosso is 0-3 at Saratoga, but finished third twice. He’s a one-paced grinder that does best with a quick pace in front of him.
- The Play: The blinkers come off Vino Rosso for the Woodward, which might give him a little more early speed. Vino Rosso doesn’t handle the turns well at Saratoga, which accounts for his winless streak. He’ll be one of the favorites but has disappointed in that role at Saratoga in the past.
#8 WOODERSON (12-1) (+1200)
- Pros: The later-maturing half-brother to champion Rachel Alexandra has won or placed in all three starts at Saratoga. He missed by a fast-closing length to Preservationist last time out in the Alydar Stakes over this course and distance. He recorded a sharp four-furlong pre-race breeze.
- Cons: Wooderson gave the worst performances of his young career against graded stakes company. He struggled to finish 28-lengths behind Preservationist in the Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont and showed nothing in last year’s Oklahoma Derby (G3).
- The Play: The keys here are later-maturing and horse for course. It would be a huge upset for Wooderson to win, but he could hit the board.
#1 MR. BUFF (8-1) (+800)
- Pros: Mr. Buff loves the spa and has won or placed in three of four starts. He can handle the distance and won at 1 1/8-lengths in his previous start.
- Cons: Mr. Buff is a one-dimensional speed horse. He’s a big horse in a small pond when faced with restricted state-bred company. However, the worst race of his career was against a tepid field of Grade 2 horses in the New Orleans Handicap, where he fell apart like a soggy Po Boy sandwich, beaten 43 lengths.
- The Play: Mr. Buff has speed on the rail. These types are winning at 20%. It’s a huge class jump against the likes of Yoshida, but Mr. Buff is a live long-shot who could stick around for a piece of the exotics.
#2 BAL HARBOUR (15-1) (+1500)
- Pros: Bal Harbour just missed by an unlucky head in the Monmouth Cup (G3) to the veteran stakes horse War Story at 1 1/8-miles. He’s improved in his last three starts.
- Cons: Bal Harbour is Todd Pletcher’s “second string.” These types do well at Monmouth and Aqueduct. The Chestnut gelding was unplaced in both of his starts at Saratoga.
- The Play: Bal Harbour ran a life-time best Brisnet speed figure in his last start. Will he continue to improve, or will he regress? Pletcher’s second string doesn’t do well at Saratoga. Most finish in the lower exotics or off the board.
#4 MONGOLIAN GROOM (15-1) (+1500)
- Pros: Mongolian Groom has improved in every dirt start this year. His owners are so confident in the gelding’s abilities, that they paid a supplemental fee and shipped Mongolian Groom east.
- Cons: Mongolian Groom is still seeking a breakthrough win at the graded stakes level. He closed to miss by a length in the San Diego Handicap (G2) but returned with a one-paced third-place finish in the Pacific Classic (G1), bested 5 1/2-lengths.
- The Play: Mongolian Groom seldom wins, but often picks up a check. He’s a one-paced plodder who often keeps the same position all the way around the track, his late-pace speed figures among the lowest in the race. If he settles into third place by the first or second call, that’s where you’ll find him at the end of the race.
#6 FOREWARNED (30-1) (+3000)
- Pros: Forewarned is a consistent competitor, in the money ten of 18-lifetime starts.
- Cons: Every race has a “why” horse, as in, why is he in here? Forewarned struggles to bet optional claimers and allowance runners at Parx Racing, a “C” rated track.
- The Play: Toss him as far as you can throw him.
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