Saturday’s 11-race card at Woodbine features three highly bettable stakes races with big wide open fields filled with contenders. Much of the attention in the horseracing world will be focused on Belmont Park Saturday afternoon, but if you crave some additional action you could do a lot worse than Woodbine’s loaded race card headlined by three stakes wagering opportunities.
Woodbine’s Saturday stakes action kicks off in race 6 with the $100,000 William D. Graham Memorial at 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf for three-year-old fillies, and continues in race 8 with the $125,000 Plate Trial at 1 1/8 miles on the main track for three-year-olds, and in race 9 with the featured $500,000 Woodbine Oaks at 1 1/8 miles on the main track for three-year-old fillies. The Plate Trial in race 8 and the Woodbine Oaks in race 9 are the first two legs of the 20-cent late Pick 4 sequence.
Race 6 – William D. Graham Memorial
The Graham Memorial drew a 13-horse field and will get he Saturday stakes action started with a bang. The favorite in the race at 5-2 on the morning line is #13 Sister Peacock and she looks tough to beat. However, she drew the far outside post and perhaps might be a little better on Polytrack than she is on turf. Nevertheless, even those criticisms are minor since she has racked up a record of three wins and two seconds in five career outings to date including a wire-to-wire stakes victory last time out in the Star Shoot Stakes at six furlongs on Woodbine’s Polytrack.
The top two challengers to the favorite look to be #4 Western Curl at 10-1 on the morning line and #9 Monkeys Uncle at 6-1. Both could add significant value to this race in the exactas and trifectas in a 13-horse field. Western Curl exits a third in the $125,000 Fury on Polytrack and shortens up to 6 1/2 furlongs, but perhaps prefers the grass and puts blinkers on for leading trainer Mark Casse. Monkeys Uncle makes her three-year-old debut and comes in with good two-year-old turf sprint form after winning the $100,000 Selima Stakes at Laurel last fall. Trainer Arnaud Delacour sports a big 28 percent win percentage with horses returning from layoffs of six months or longer, such as Moneys Uncle.
Race 8 – The Plate Trial
The 2019 Plate Trial features a nine-horse field of three-year-old Queen’s Plate hopefuls hoping to go on to bigger and better things. The favorites on the morning line, #1 Federal Law and #5 Dun Drum, look like the horses to beat, with Dun Drum rating the edge at slightly better morning line odds of 5-2. Dun Drum will need to turn the tables on Federal Law who beat him last time out in the $125,000 Queenston, but all indications are that he can get the job done. Federal Law had already had a race under his belt but Dun Drum was coming first time back off his winter layoff when the pair faced off in the Queenston. Plus, Dun Drum was coming on late at seven furlongs and should benefit from this stretch-out to 1 1/8 miles.
If you are looking beyond the two favorites, the best option could be #8 Jammin Still (3-1), who will be adding first-time Lasix and making his second start off a six-month layoff. Those playing exotics could also use #6 Moon Swings (8-1) in the underneath positions.
Race 9 – Woodbine Oaks
Saturday’s featured race is the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks for three-year-old Canadian-bred fillies. The horse to beat will be 5-2 morning line favorite #9 Bold Script, but tons of value can still be found in the exactas and trifectas in this race in the form of #6 Artilena (10-1) and #8 Hastalavistababy (8-1). Hastalavistababy comes in off back-to-back runner-up stakes finishes in last fall’s Ontario Lassie and the seven-furlong Fury on May 12 in her seasonal bow where she was beaten by today’s #5 Speedy Soul, who is yet another contender here at 7-2. Artilena beat Hastalavistababy in the Ontario Lassie and looks to rebound from a bad trip when defeated in the Fury last time out. She’s ready to roll in her second off the layoff.
Bold Script looks good on top when handicapping and betting the Woodbine Oaks. Her last outing was a solid third-place finish against open company in the Selene Stakes (G3) at Woodbine, beaten less than two lengths. She was the blow-out runaway winner of last fall’s $225,000 Princess Elizabeth going two turns on the Woodbine main track. She will be difficult to deny back against restricted Canadian competition for trainer Stuart Simon.
From a betting perspective in the Woodbine Oaks, key #9 Bold Script in the exactas and trifectas over the aforementioned #5 Speedy Soul, #6 Artilena, and #8 Hastalavistababy.
Enjoy a great card of racing and wagering Saturday at Woodbine!
Bold Script winning the Princess Elizabeth (c) WEG/Michael Burns Photography