That was certainly a nice way to open the Gulfstream meet with a winner. Ancient Rome came through and paid a neat $4.40, take that all day. Today we head back up to Canada for the G3 Valedictory at Woodbine. It’s for 3YO and upwards going a marathon mile and three quarters over the synthetic track. A field of 6 will be racing for a purse of $150,000 and it is shaping up to be an interesting feature. We have three recent winners, including a BC Marathon winner and couple of horses trying to find their way back to the winners circle. I have four contenders and one Bombs Away today, so let’s take a look …
#2 Eagle Poise ML 5/2
This son of Empire Maker is having a nice 5YO campaign after a dismal zero for five 2010 season. Won his last outing here at Woodbine, a nice progression of Beyer’s (80-87-89), and has won four of seven lifetime at Woodbine. Graham Motion is a solid trainer in these situations and Husbands is staying with him. He looks primed to capture his first Graded race today.
#5 Harrads Creek ML 6/1
Some might say this should be the dark horse or Bombs Away selection, but I like this 5YO here and he might end up winning this one. He has won two of four this season and like the #2 has improving Beyer’s in each race (81-85-91). Breeding says he can go the distance, and I’m not concerned he is going from turf to synthetic. Bill Mott has him in good shape and brings Chantal back to ride him. He will be on the front or near to take charge of this race. If the price holds, this is one to play for value.
#3 Afleet Again ML 8/5
Truthfully, the only reason I’ve got him in this spot is out of respect for him winning the BC Marathon. He has only won one of nine as a 4YO and his 3YO season was not all that great. Other than that 95 at Churchill his Beyer’s have average, just don’t see him repeating that great effort in the Breeders Cup. I might be wrong, but the #2 and #5 look better.
#4 Eye of the Leopard ML 2/1
I’d label this entry as my dark horse for today. Good steady Beyer’s, can handle the distance and has won four of ten at Woodbine. Forstad is getting him into form and this could be the break out race, he has shown a liking to the synthetic and has the sharpshooter in Contreras in the saddle. He likes to stay close and if the front runners get bogged down he could shoot through.
#1 Alpha Bettor ML 15/1
This 3YO is an angle play. His Beyer’s earlier in the season at Woodbine says he can run with this group. He has won three of ten at Woodbine with two seconds, and Pizarro has been aboard for all his victories. This is second outing after winning off the bench and Danny Vella does well on second off layoffs. He will rate further back and if the group at the front falters he could scoot by and win it. No doubt he will need a strong effort but history says he can do it.
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