How to Bet Sunday’s Nijinsky at Woodbine

Sunday’s featured race at Woodbine is the Nijinsky (G2), a $175,000 turf affair going 1 1/2 miles with a field of eight. The favorite is the speedy multiple graded stakes-winning front-runner Tiz a Slam and whether or not he’s beatable seems like it will hinge on whether he gets challenged up front on the pace. If it is a contentious and solid pace, the potential exists for an upset. If not, Tiz a Slam should do what he does best recorded a wire-to-wire win.

Here’s a brief look at the Nijinsky field:

PUMPKIN RUMBLE (#1) (4-1) really got good and came into his own last fall at Woodbine on the synthetic and came back off the winter layoff last time with a solid race, finishing third in the Dominion Day (G3) back on Tapeta. Now switches gears back onto the lawn and has run well over the course and distance, finishing second in last year’s Singspiel (G3). Pumpkin Rumble owns four career turf wins and more earnings on the grass than synthetic, so it would be a mistake to ignore this horse today based on the surface switch. Crusty veteran can run and is ready to roll in his second race off the layoff.

ARTHUR KITT (#2) (15-1) is a three-year-old shipping from England who finds a tough spot against salty older horses and solid veterans. Looked like a promising two-year-old winner last year at Royal Ascot but has not won ever since then, and he doesn’t seem to have trained on as a three-year-old. Picked out this spot for its 1 ½-mile distance and has a good pressing/stalking running style that fits. However, he’ll need a big effort in order to ship in and handle this caliber of older horses.

SIR SALIB (#3) (8-1) won his Canadian debut two races ago for trainer Kevin Attard and then stepped up in class for the first time ever last time out in the Singspiel (G3), turning in a solid effort where he was not embarrassed finishing third by less than three lengths. Chased an agonizingly slow pace last time to no avail, and his chances for improvement here today hinge on same pace contentiousness up front.

SOUPER TAPIT (#4) (3-1) exits a main track Grade 2 win here at 1 1/16 miles and this will be an entirely different kind of challenge at 1 1/2 miles on the grass. Primarily a dirt horse in this career until that big switch to Woodbine’s Tapeta, Souper Tapit essentially has proven throughout his career that he can run on anything. The question really is whether or not he is as good on turf as on synthetic (or dirt), and unlike with Pumpkin Rumble, the answer so far has been “no.” Also must prove that this 1 1/2-mile distance is his cup of tea and the odds won’t provide any value hailing from the barn of Mark Casse.

BOURBON RESOLUTION (#5) (10-1) drew post 12 of 13 last time out in the Wise Dan (G2) at Churchill and never got into the race en route to an eighth-place finish in a tough field. This competition might not be as difficult, but the assignment might prove to be even tougher given today’s distance of 1 1/2 miles, uncharted territory for him. Plus, he’s a late runner that does not project to get a good pace set-up in this race.

TIZ A SLAM (#6) (8-5) went wire-to-wire to win the local prep (1 1/2-mile Singspiel) and also captured the 1 1/2-mile Louisville (G3) at Churchill Downs wire-to-wire. Owns a 4-for-8 record on the Woodbine turf course and looms the defending champion in this race. If he gets beat in this race, it’s likely that his downfall will be pace pressure pace since Tiz a Slam does his best running with easy leads. And, he is may not get that scenario today due to the presence of speedy Dark Templar directly to the outside. Deserving favorite certainly could win, but could also get cooked up front and go down in flames as a result.

DARK TEMPLAR (#7) (20-1) switched to the turf for the first time two races ago at Monmouth Park, speeding to the lead at 1 1/16 miles and leading all the way. He exits a victory in an off-the-turf spot at Laurel and stretches out to 1 1/2-miles for the first time. It looks like an extraordinarily difficult spot with a more accomplished speed horse to the inside (Tiz a Slam) and while Dark Templar seemed to have improved when adding blinkers three races ago, he takes the blinkers off today. Tough to envision him winning, but he’s the key to the race. If he runs with Tiz a Slam, Dark Templar could compromise the favorite’s chances. If he doesn’t send, it will probably result in an easy wire-wire win for Tiz a Slam.

AVIE’S MESA (#8) (6-1) chased Tiz a Slam all the way around the track last time out in the Singspiel to be second best. Seems to be taking turns getting beat by the principal contenders in this field, with recent losses also against Souper Tapit and Pumpkin Rumble. Hoping for a dream stalking trip if a fast-paced battle up front sets up on the lead between Dark Templar and Tiz a Slam.


Tiz a Slam is the horse to beat at short odds, but it’s difficult to rely on that horse by keying him alone on top due to the presence of another speed horse in Dark Templar. The two horses that finished right behind after chasing a loose Tiz a Slam through glacier-slow fractions last time, Sir Salib and Avie’s Mesa, could turn the tables this time, and the veteran hard-knocker Pumpkin Rumble could very well turn out to be the horse to beat and should be bet accordingly.

Bet the race covering both possibilities, 1) Tiz a Slam gets loose and goes all the way, or 2) Tiz a Slam gets cooked up front and sets it up for an upset.

In scenario No. 1, key #6 Tiz a Slam in the trifectas over #1 Pumpkin Rumble, #3 Sir Salib, and #8 Avie’s Mesa.

In scenario No, 2, play exacta boxes with #1 Pumpkin Rumble, #3 Sir Salib, and #8 Avie’s Mesa.


$2 Exacta Box 1, 3, 8 = $12

$1 Trifecta key 6 / 1, 3, 8 / 1, 3, 8 = $6

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Woodbine Feature Race Spot Plays for Sunday, July 21

Sunday’s 11-race card at Woodbine features a graded turf sprint and an expensive allowance around two turns on the main track as its two highly-playable featured races. Both races have big wide open fields filled with several contenders.

If you can tear yourself away from Sunday action at Saratoga and Del Mar, Woodbine would make a good third track to focus on to round out your weekend of racing and wagering.

Woodbine’s Sunday stakes is the C$175,000 Royal North Stakes (G2) at six furlongs on the main turf course for three-year-old and up, fillies and mares which goes as Race 9. The race before the feature is also a good betting race. Race 8 is a 1 1/16-mile main track allowance. Both races drew fields of eight.

Race 8 – Allowance

This allowance race offers a great opportunity to beat the morning-line favorite and make some money by focusing on the other three main contenders in the race in exactas and trifectas.

The likely favorite looks like Who’s Got It (#2) (2-1), but while the six-year-old gelding has plenty of ability on Woodbine’s synthetic racing surface, he loses much more often than he wins (three wins from 27 starts on this track) and probably needs this race off a seven-month layoff. Plus, there are other very solid contenders in this race to focus on at potentially better odds.

The horse to beat is Silent Jet (#7) (3-1), who has won three races in a row on the Woodbine main track, including a score at this distance with a solid BRIS Speed figure two races ago. Lost on the turf last out, but nevertheless stayed in tip-top form in that $100,000 allowance by finishing a solid third from post 12 in a 12-horse field. Versatile pace horse can win on the front end, or he can press or stalk the pace and win anyway.

The horse who could really bump up the value of your exotics in this race is Coleyville (#8) (6-1), who sneakily improved last time out in the same allowance race that Silent Jet exits. Seems equally as good on a synthetic track as on turf, and blazed a bullet workout on this main track since last raced to indicate continued good fitness.

The other main contender for the exotics is Courtly Manner (#1) (7-2), who has won at this trip here on Woodbine’s main track and has been knocking on the door in similar recent races at this level.

Use the aforementioned trio, Courtly Manner (#1), Silent Jet (#7) and Coleyville (#8) in the exactas and trifectas.

Race 9 – Royal North Stakes (G2)

The Sunday featured Royal North Stakes (G2) can also be attacked with a similar three-horse exacta and trifecta box strategy, but instead of avoiding the favorite in Race 9 as is recommended in Race 8, the favorites should be the focus of your plays in the Royal North.

The horse to beat looks like Oleksandra (#3) (2-1), who ships up to Woodbine off of back-to-back turf sprint wins at Belmont Park at this six-furlong distance. Oleksandra is a turf sprint monster who rarely loses in these races, having compiled a record of five wins in six turf sprint outings since arriving in North America for trainer Neil Drysdale.

The x-factor in the race will be likely favorite Summer Sunday (#4) (8-5), who seems like the best and fastest horse in the race but who has yet to run on turf. If she’s as good on the turf as on the synthetic, she wins, but you just never know until she’s done it. Based on her back-to-back stakes wins in her last two races, including a win in Woodbine’s Hendrie Stakes (G3) with a huge BRIS Speed figure, she certainly would be difficult to leave off your tickets.

If for any reason Summer Sunday does not handle the turf, the horse most likely to fill out her spot in the exactas would be Ruby Notion (#2) (5-1). Slow to round back into top form this season at Churchill Downs, Ruby Notion is nevertheless the most accomplished turf sprinter in this field with a Grade 3 win last year at Kentucky Downs followed by a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).

From a betting perspective in The Royal North, box Ruby Notion (#2), Oleksandra (#3) and Summer Sunday (#4) in both the exactas and trifectas, and you should be nailing down the three main contenders in the race. You should at least hit the exacta, and if you add the trifecta you could turn the race into a nice score.

Enjoy a great card of racing and wagering Sunday at Woodbine!

PHOTO: Ruby Notion (c) Reed Palmer Photography

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How to Bet the 2019 Ontario Matron Stakes

A well-matched field of 11 fillies and mares headline the Saturday feature at Woodbine in the $125,000 Ontario Matron Stakes (G3). The 1 1/16-mile contest on the Tapeta features a slew of contenders in what appears to be an excellent betting affair.

CRUMLIN QUEEN (#1) (20-1) – Michael Doyle trainee adds blinkers following a runner-up allowance finish in her second start of 2019. The five-year-old mare could sneak into the gimmicks if she moves forward with the equipment change.

LUNAR GARDEN (#2) (15-1) – Speedy sort had a decent prep for this one when fifth in the Trillium Stakes (G3) last out over track and distance. The Stuart Simon charge smoked a bullet five-eighths most recently and will be a pace factor under Rafael Hernandez.

MISS MO MENTUM (#3) (7-2) – Lively contender from the Mark Casse barn was sharp in pulling clear late in her Trillium victory. The Uncle Mo filly will be coming from off the pace under Jerome Lermyte, and she rates an obvious chance with even minor improvement.

GIOVANNA BLUES (#4) (20-1) – Sneaky contender is two-for-four on the Tapeta and earned a 103 BRIS Late Pace figure when a closing fifth in her debut for this outfit. The Gio Ponti mare could pick up a check at big odds with a forward move second time out in 2019.

LADIES NIGHT (#5) (20-1) – Inconsistent sort was no factor against many of these last out and has the look of a long shot in the affair. The Gail Cox trainee would need a career-best to make the frame.

SENSE OF BRAVERY (#6) (8-1) – Wildcard in the field makes her synthetic debut in a difficult assignment for Kevin Attard. The Street Sense filly had a solid three-year-old campaign and will be bringing speed to the field off the shelf. Jesse Campbell has the mount.

NIIGON’S BAY (#7) (6-1) – Chestnut is perfect from two races this campaign, with both coming on this main strip. The Rachel Halden trainee should receive a strong pace to rally into with Patrick Husbands signed on.

KATIE BABY (#8) (5-2) – Catherine Day-Phillips pupil has never run a bad one and was second-best in the Hendrie (G3) in advance of this test. The talented daughter of Curlin is a must use as the deserving favorite under top pilot Eurico Da Silva.

SUMMER LUCK (#9) (10-1) – Mark Casse trainee has a solid turn of foot and will improve following an unplaced showing when wide throughout in the Trillium. The Lookin at Lucky mare might add value to the gimmicks with a well-timed ride.

PAMINA (#10) (15-1) – Street Cry lass from the always dangerous Michael Dickinson barn bagged a turf allowance race in her seasonal debut. The four-year-old earned a 105 BRIS Late Pace figure in her lone prior outing on the course and could be moving best of all inside the final furlong. Luis Contreras will guide the BRIS Prime Power leader at a healthy price.

DIXIE MOON (#11) (5-1) – Classy Curlin filly was shut off when third in the Trillium in a most recent endeavor. The second major player from the Day-Phillips barn could peak third time off the layoff with Emma-Jayne Wilson picking up the mount.


Lunar Garden, Ladies Night and Sense of Bravery all have sharp gate presence. Katie Baby and Dixie Moon will track that trio and get first run into the stretch on the slew of late runners in the field.

I will center my wagers around that duo, focusing on the vertical exotics which could be substantial.


$1 Trifecta 8, 11 with 1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 11 with all = $90

PHOTO: Miss Mo Mentum (c) WEG/Michael Burns Photography

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Woodbine Spot Plays for Saturday, June 29

Woodbine has a fantastic card of racing Saturday. With a new inner turf course open, there are nine turf races scheduled while the rest are run on the Tapeta main track.

Race 8 is the Dance Smartly Stakes (G2) for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and upward. They will be going 1 1/4 miles on the expansive outer turf course and the field only attracted a field of eight.

HOLY HELENA (#1) (9-5) is a multiple graded winner on the turf. She draws post 1 and will be far back before Javier Castellano asks her to go. Two starts back, she won The Very One Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park at a similar distance and has improved some since Lasix was added at the beginning of this year. Jimmy Jerkens wins 27 percent with his shippers and 24 percent second start off the layoff.

STARSHIP JUBILEE (#4) (2-1) could be the controlling speed if Luis Contreras sends her to the front as expected. She has won at this distance before and won this race two years ago. Last out, she opened up a clear lead in the stretch before being run down as the odds-on favorite.

ROCK MY LOVE (#8) (7-2) ships in from Europe after just missing in a Group 2 two starts back and then was part of a blanket finish going a mile on soft turf against Group 2 company again. She returns off a long layoff with a series of strong workouts and adds Lasix for the first time.

Exacta: 1 with 4, 8
Pick 3: 1, 4 with 1, 2, 8 with 10

Race 9 is the Highlander Stakes (G1), a turf sprint race going six furlongs for three-year-olds and upward. For some reason, it is not part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. There is a long stretch but speed does well here at this distance.

WHITE FLAG (#8) (7-2) returns to the races off a 168-day layoff for Christophe Clement, who has become a master of turf sprints. The son of War Front rallied from off the pace to win the Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship at this distance two starts back then gunned to the front in the Tropical Turf (G3) and led to the deep stretch. He has three wins at the distance and picks up Javier Castellano.

CARIBOU CLUB (#2) (7-5) won the seven-furlong Connaught Cup (G2) here 13 months ago in fast time. He added scores in the Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) and Joe Hernandez Stakes (G3) before a disastrous trip to Dubai, where he trailed at the start. Tom Proctor wins 16 percent off long layoffs, and Caribou Club will be a major stretch factor.

EXTRAVAGANT KID (#1) (6-1) has become a very consistent turf sprinter at the age of six for Brendan Walsh. He has enough gate speed to keep from being shuffled back and picks up Rafael Hernandez.

Win: 8
Exacta: 1, 2 with 8
Daily Double: 8 with 10

Race 10 is the Queen’s Plate, a $1 million race for Canadian-foaled three-year olds going 1 1/4 miles on the Tapeta main track.

SKYWIRE (#10) (4-1) won his first two starts here on the Tapeta then ran poorly in a rough trip in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park on their synthetic Polytrack. He bounced back here with a win against open company stakes horses then just missed in the Marine Stakes (G3). I love his pedigree – Afleet Alex over a dam by Gone West – and Eurico Da Silva should be able to gain position with the long run into the first turn.

FEDERAL LAW (#7) (15-1) won going seven furlongs here then came back with a good second as the 9-5 favorite in the Plate Trial Stakes at nine furlongs. The gelded son of Scat Daddy has run well in both starts against Canadian-foaled runners and Jamie Spencer is in from Europe for the mount.

DESERT RIDE (#1) (8-1) is a deep closer who figures to get a ground-saving trip from post 1 with Steve Bahen. The daughter of Candy Ride gets five pounds, and Neil Howard knows how to get horses to go long – see Summer Squall and Mineshaft.

Win: 10
Exacta Box: 1, 7, 10

PHOTO: Holy Helena (c) WEG/Michael Burns Photography

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Woodbine Stakes Spot Plays for Saturday, June 8

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

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How to bet the 2019 Woodbine Oaks

The C$500,000 Woodbine Oaks, for Canadian-bred three-year-old fillies, is the most lucrative of the three stakes at Woodbine on Saturday, and often serves as a crucial prep for the prestigious Queen’s Plate. The last two winners of the Plate, Holy Helena and Wonder Gadot, both ran in the Woodbine Oaks.

Here’s a brief look at this year’s field:

#1 LADY AZALEA, though stakes-placed last season, lost ground in the final furlong in both of her entry-level allowance preps this year. Doesn’t seem classy or quick enough.

#2 FALCON’S VIEW has been unplaced in her last two starts when racing for a $40,000 tag, so hard to envision her upsetting these.

#3 PREFERRED GUEST has been effective in both of her two-turn outings on Tapeta, winning the C$100,000 South Ocean in November and a rallying second last out in the Selene (G3) against open company. Gets extra ground to work with here stretching out to 1 1/8 miles.

#4 DESERT RIDE hails from the powerful Sam-Son Farm and makes her stakes debut after winning two of three on the grass to start her career. Daughter of Candy Ride figures to thrive stretching out beyond a mile for the first time. Her second dam, Eye of the Sphynx, won the Woodbine Oaks and produced Queen’s Plate winner Eye of the Leopard.

#5 SPEEDY SOUL has won three of four starts, including the C$125,000 Fury last out in her first attempt wearing blinkers. Was more forwardly placed that day and should be so again. Has yet to race beyond seven furlongs.

#6 ARTILENA backed out of contention in the May 12 Fury in what was her first start since December. She’s capable of much better and should contest the pace here. Whether she can last nine furlongs is another matter.

#7 INTANGA ROSE was the beaten favorite in the Fury after taking the early lead, which was unusual for her. By Animal Kingdom, she’s out of multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter Intangaroo, and perhaps is taking more after her dam than her sire.

#8 HASTALAVISTABABY charged late to finish a close second in both the Fury and the C$125,000 Ontario Lassie in each of her past two starts. Daughter of Drosselmeyer is probably crying for more distance and gets it here.

#9 BOLD SCRIPT, the morning line favorite at 5-2, has won or placed in six stakes, though her lone success came in the C$225,000 Princess Elizabeth in November. Weakened late to be third in the Selene as the even-money favorite, a useful tightener for this.

#10 SOUCIOLOGIST was an even third in her May 5 comeback against entry-level allowance company. Concedes experience against a field of this caliber, though she has raced exclusively in open company to this point.

From a pedigree and upside perspective, the Churchill Downs-based DESERT RIDE (6-1) has the makings of an intriguing newcomer to the stakes ranks and it would be no surprise is she fits right in against these rivals. HASTALAVISTABABY (8-1), from the barn of Mark Casse, has a right to progress in her second start of the season. Early favorites BOLD SCRIPT (5-2) and SPEEDY SOUL (7-2) both look vulnerable at short odds.

The plays:

#4 to WIN

EXACTOR wheel 4,8 with 4,5,8,9


(c) Coady Photography

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Hambletonian Trail Blog

Three Of Four PA All-Star Strikes, $16 Tops; North America Cup Preps Please Public; Hambo Trail Has Traffic


We will catch up where we left of last week in the Hambletonian Trail section, otherwise, we report the rundown of successes and failures from our preview TwinSpires harness blog.

Friday, 31

At Western Fair the Camluck Classic, our top choice, Sintra, scratched. Still, it was no place for the favorite, Done Well (our second choice), due to strenuous challenges from start to finish by a few outsiders. A 13-1 shot won, with two other long priced pacers completing the exotics and Done Well finishing fourth.

Saturday, June 1

Pocono’s All Stars for filly pacers scored for us in the first of four with Alii Nui ($16.80, $7.00, $5.40). In round two we lost to the favorite, having Louphoria (16-1) finish fourth.

In the last two we were all over the favorites, winning with Stonebridge Soul ($2.40, $2.10, $2.10) and then the obvious Warrawee Beaut ($2.40, $2.10, $2.10), though we could not pull an exacta out of the latter with Able Hanover (24-1) finishing fourth.

At Woodbine/Mohawk, we were empty in the two divisions of the Somebeachsomewhere. When the favorite won the first split, we finished fourth with Captain Trevor (14-1). Then, when a 19-1 upset the hugely popular Stag Party, we finished seventh with World On Edge (45-1).

The Graduate trot division found us finishing third with Custom Cantab ($3.10). The favorite won that as did the Gratuate-pacing-division favorite, where we finished seventh with Dorsoduro Hanover (14-1).


It was one of the sport’s mortal locks and it paid such, when Gimpanzee ($2.10, $2.10, $2.10) won the colts’ Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon on May 27.

The favorite won the filly version, with our choice, Sweet Chapter ($4.70) getting the third spot filled.

At Hoosier on May 30 there was another rare trot lock with Swandre The Giant ($2.10, $2.10, $2.10) winning a sires-stakes leg. Our exacta forecast was not to be, as Lite Years Ahead (88-1) raced poorly, especially for a Hambo eligible.

Friday, May 31 at the Meadowlands, sires-stakes finals for colts and fillies each went the way of the favorites. We were second in the colts’ adventure with Reign Of Terror ($3.40, $2.80), which made for an $8.40 exacta. In the filly version we knew, as did everyone, that there was no turning away the talents of Evident Beauty ($2.80. $2.40, $2.10).

Saturday, June began brightly for soph-filly trotters at the Meadows. We shone slightly for a 31-1 second to a 5-1 shot with Great Possession ($21.80, $9.40). The favorite broke stride in the stretch, the second choice broke at the start. Luck counts.

Sunday, June 2 is your last chance to bet into Hambletonian Future Wager Pool #2.
Click the following link and get better odds than the bettors will offer come the classic race in August.


The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas listed are included when a H2W horse finishes second with a race favorite or the first two finishers making up the exacta are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices published are correct even when a show price exceeds a place price or any or all of the prices are the same. This week, there were 70 active horses (a 16-percent win hit rate and a 39-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate).

Please note that some H2W results reflect win, place, show and exotic results occurring by press time but some horses race after the blog is posted (we list them the following weeks) It is up to you to follow horses that have not performed before this weekly review.


Oparto Hanover, $13.80, $5.80, $2.70, Saratoga
First Call, $11.40, $4.60, $3.80, Vernon
Macadoodledoo, $9.40, $4.20, $2.80, Meadows
Drawing Dragons, $6.60, $3.40, $2.60, Pocono
Cardiac Fashion, $5.00, $3.40, $2.80, Hoosier
Feherty, $4.00, $4.00, $3.00 ok, Hoosier
Jezzys Legacy, $3.60, $2.60, $2.20, Pocono
Little Bita Sass, $3.60, $2.60, $2.10, Hawthorne
American Champ, $3.10, $2.10, $2.10 ok, Monticello
Northern Belle, $2.60, $2.10, $2.30 ok, Flamboro
Seawind Ginger, $2.60, $2.10, n/s, Plainridge


Spreester, $7.90, $3.10, Saratoga
Shake A Leg, $4.60, $3.60 (Exacta $22.30), Mohawk
College Hanover, $3.40, $2.60, Monticello
Ally Elizabeth, $2.90, $2.70, Vernon
Karefree Kara, $2.80, $2.60, Hoosier
Sicily, $2.40, $2.40 ok, Harrington
Western Joe, $2.40, $2.10, Meadowlands


Slzburgerlzburger, $10.40, Hawthorne
Guccio ATM, $7.70, Vernon
Jersey Boy, $7.60, Vernon
Cams Candy Girl, $5.40, Plainridge
Karlee Sue, $3.40, Northville
May Day Jojo, $3.00, Bangor
Explosive Jet, $2.80, Flamboro
Empire Earl N, $2.10, Buffalo
Fraulein Blucher, $2.10, Pocono

News & Notes

The two-year-old season at The Meadowlands began with morning baby races. Trainer Marcus Melander sent 11 trotting colts and fillies, including Bellareina Dolce She won over stablemate Queen Of The Hill. She is a Muscle Hill filly that cost $400,000 as a yearling. Shishito (Father Patrick) won for trainer Per Engblom. Her yearling price was $50,000. Another Father Patrick winner from Marcus Melander was the $200,000 Soubrette Hanover. Ray Schnittker sent a pair of So Surreal colts to impressive wins. The Mystic won big in 1:54.2, worthy of his $40,000 price tag, and Splash Brother, won in 1:54.3; he was a $30,000 yearling.

A week after an impressive start to his three-year-old campaign, Greenshoe was more remarkable on May 31, trotting the fastest mile of the year to win in 1:50.2 over state-breds in the $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for colts at the Meadowlands. The son of Father Patrick is one of the primary contenders for the Hambletonian, along with Swandre The Giant, who won at Hoosier on May 30 and Gimpanzee, who won at Vernon last week. Greenshoe began his season last week, scoring in 1:51.2. He returns for his soph season with no particular resume as a freshman. Last year he broke in each of his four starts, though he won two of them.

Yonkers is on hiatus. Racing will return on June 7. When programs resume, there is a Pick 5 guarantee in effect. As part of the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and with the approval of the New York State Gaming Commission, a $10,000 guarantee is available every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening, the first night being Monday, June 10. Should the sequence go without anyone cashing, the current “instant guarantee” remains leading to the next racing program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising either races 6 through 10 (10-race card) or 7 through 11 (more than 10-race card). It has no consolation payoff.

Extraordinary Extras

Indulge in my monthly columns, Alternative Actions and Bettors Banquet at Harness Racing Update

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How to bet the 2019 Easter weekend stakes at Woodbine

The Woodbine racing season begins this weekend with a pair of stakes race on each day. Saturday will have the Whimsical Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares going six furlongs on the Tapeta main track. It has attracted a field of six.

ALNILAH (#1) (8-1) took a while to get through her maiden conditions but then won her first-level allowance condition only three starts later going seven furlongs. Moved up in class again, she won in very fast time going this distance and a repeat of that effort puts her in the mix here.

ZESTINA (#2) (6-1) won two Canadian-bred stakes races on the turf last September here then was third on the dirt going long against the same company. She moves up in class while dropping down in distance for Sid Attard.

TARAWA (#3) (15-1) is a former cheap claimer who won two allowance races in a row going this distance here then was up the track in a turf sprint stakes race at Tampa Bay Downs. She is fast but has never raced on a synthetic track before.

SLY BEAUTY (#4) (9-5) won the Star Shoot Stakes race here going this distance in fast time then raced evenly in two turf sprints. She was an even third going five furlongs from post 1 while stuck in traffic last out and now returns to the main track, moves up to graded company and has the blinkers removed by trainer Mark Casse.

SHAKOPEE TOWN (#5) (2-1) makes her Tapeta debut for Kevin Attard, who wins 20 percent with his graded starters. The daughter of Jersey Town ran well on the dirt at Fair Grounds and got ready for this with a fastest-of-100 half-mile breeze last Saturday.

MAGIC SPELL (#6) (7-2) broke her maiden here in her career debut and was an even fourth in the Star Shoot. She finished up last year with an off-the-turf win going six furlongs and now takes better.


Short field doesn’t provide much value. Shakopee Town looks to have an edge over these in her Tapeta debut.


Cold Exacta
#5 with #1

On Sunday at Woodbine, the $100,000 Star Shoot Stakes will be run for three-year-old fillies going six furlongs on the Tapeta.

SPEEDY SOUL (#1) (10-1) rallied from way back to beat Canadian-breds first time out then she came back and won the Muskoka Stakes by four lengths after dropping way back early. She returns off a 235-day layoff for Mark Casse, who wins 17 percent in this spot.

MISSMIZZ (#2) (6-1) broke her maiden first time out in a turf sprint at Tampa Bay Downs then beat allowance foes there going two turns. In her stakes debut at Fair Grounds, she raced evenly after a rough start.

POWER GAL (#3) (8-1) won the Martha Washington Stakes two starts back at Oaklawn Park going a mile then did nothing there last out when moved up in class. The daughter of Empire Maker tries Tapeta for the first time.

MY GAL BETTY (#4) (7-2) began her career in good form but her last two starts on the turf against top company were poor. She did show a liking for the Tapeta in her first two starts here last year going short, which is what she is going in this spot.

SISTER PEACOCK (#5) (4-1) broke her maiden by five lengths first time out on the Tapeta against maiden $32,000 claimers then she crushed entry-level allowance foes. Her two starts this year were second-place finishes going a mile on the turf at Gulfstream Park, so she has speed and versatility.

SI SI TEQUILA (#6) (8-1) beat first-level allowance foes two starts back then came back here and missed by a neck in the Glorious Song Stakes. She has good speed and can stalk the pace from outside.

SPECIAL FOR YOU (#7) (20-1) broke her maiden third time out on a sloppy dirt track going a mile at Fair Grounds. She did little there the next two starts there and, unless she is going to wake up with the switch to Tapeta, she just doesn’t seem to be good enough.

KETTLE VALLEY (#8) (20-1) broke her maiden first time out in a turf sprint at Ellis Park then came back almost eight months later with an even third going two turns on the turf at Gulfstream Park. The daughter of City Zip did nothing on the dirt at Keeneland when blinkers were added but they come off for this one.

INTANGA ROSE (#9) (3-1) rallied from off the pace to break her maiden first time out here going five furlongs last August then she came back at 2-5 and beat allowance foes here at this distance. Off for 219 days, she returns for Sid Attard with a proven ability to run well fresh.

MALIBU DAWN (#10) (20-1) broke her maiden in her Tapeta debut second time out then tired when stretched out in distance against stakes foes. She has raced evenly in her two starts on turf at Gulfstream Park and should be ready for her return to Tapeta.


The Star Shoot is pretty wide open and with the 10-runner field, the betting money should get spread out. I know many horses can go from turf to Tapeta but I like to see some success over the Tapeta here. Itanga Rose won both starts here last year and has trained extremely well at Gulfstream Park and here to be ready. The daughter of Animal Kingdom can sit just off the pace and pounce in the stretch with regular rider Eurico da Silva back aboard. She will be our key.



Exacta Box
#9 with #1, #4 and #5

PHOTO: Intanga Rose winning on September 14, 2018 at Woodbine (c) WEG/Michael Burns Photography

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