Race Preview: Nearctic Stakes - Woodbine, October 13, 2013

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Matt Carter

October 13th, 2013

Sunday's feature race at Woodbine is a good one, it's the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes for three-year-olds and upward going six furlongs on the turf course. This race will determine at least one starter for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in three weeks. Morning line favorite for the Nearctic at 3-1 is Excaper, who just finished sixth in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.

Excaper was beaten 11 and one-half lengths by Wise Dan in the Woodbine Mile, but back to a sprint will be show the form that saw him finish second in a Grade 2 two starts back. Excaper; however, is not a win machine with three wins, six seconds and one third in 14 career starts. He will be on the pace along with Fatal Bullet, Phil's Dream and Bear No Joke. The race shape sets up for someone to come from off the pace.

Longhunter is the 7-2 second choice on the line and looks to be adaptable to any pace scenario. Three starts back he was five and one half length off the early pace, but has won just two lengths off and won gate-to-wire. The five-year-old gelding should be sitting the trip, just off the speed.

One horse that is definitely worth a gamble, especially if he goes off at his 8-1 morning line is Strong Impact, who if he runs back to the stakes win at Saratoga, he wins for fun. After that stakes win Strong Impact finished a good third in another stakes at Parx before finishing sixth in the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap over a bog of a turf course. He gets back on fast turf and will be doing his best running late. The seven-year-old gelding has been in-the-money in 21 of his 36 career starts.

The 41st running of the Nearctic looks like it may come down to a photo finish. Post time for the Grade 1 race is 4:24 pm ET.