Belmont Park: Exotics plays for the Woodward Stakes Oct. 2
A small, but excellent, field of six will vie in Saturday’s $500,000 Woodward S. (G1) at Belmont Park. The nine-furlong test on the main oval has attracted some of the top handicap horses in training in a very competitive rendition of the storied race.
Woodward Stakes exotics wagers
- $30 exacta 6 with 2 ($30)
- $3 trifecta 2,6 with 2,6 with all ($24)
- $2 superfecta 2,6 with 2,6 with 5 with all ($16)
- $1 superfecta 2,6 with 5 with 2,6 with all ($8)
Trainer Bill Mott has two in the field that appear to be the pace players in the race, and I will give one of his entrants top billing in the contest. The lightly raced #6 Forza Di Oro has flashed considerable potential on more than one occasion and seems poised to breakthrough at the highest level on Saturday. Don Alberto homebred sports a 3-2-1-0 line over Big Sandy and will be fully fit following his third-place showing in the Jockey Club Gold Cup S. (G1) when going 1 ¼ miles at Saratoga last time out.
Forza Di Oro gets a great draw outside of the small cast and possesses the perfect running style to prompt the pace while always in the mix before inching clear in the stretch. The four-year-old son of Speightstown fired a bullet five-eighths on the Oklahoma training surface at The Spa last weekend and retains regular rider Junior Alavarado. His conditioner will look to saddle his third winner of the event over the past 10 years.
Twice-beaten #2 Maxfield has always been a high-class performer since his unveiling as a juvenile, and the Brendan Walsh pupil rates as the one to beat while making his Belmont debut. The four-year-old son of Street Sense has a running style that seems perfectly suited to the course, and his runner-up performance in the Whitney S. (G1) most recently might have been better than it looks on paper, as well.
Maxfield will be equipped with blinkers for the initial time on Saturday, which is an interesting thing to do to such a genuine colt who shows fine form. The Godolphin homebred has been training well as of late, and if he moves forward with the hood on, then he will be especially difficult to hold off in the stretch beneath Jose Ortiz.
Shug McGaughey’s #5 Code of Honor is a Grade 1 victor on the surface who will make his second start since the winter. The Noble Mission five-year-old has always been full of class, and he has never finished out of the money from six career appearances at Belmont, as well. He is an obvious top-three contender with Paco Lopez in the stirrups.