How to Bet the Woodward
By DAVE LITFIN
Five horses showed up to chase Frosted in the $1.25 million Whitney (G1), but four weeks after a comprehensive victory he now faces eight challengers for less than half the money in Saturday’s Woodward (G1).
Another difference from Whitney Day: in addition to the usual late Pick 4 with its $500,000 guarantee and 24% takeout, a late Pick 5 has been added for the last four days at The September Place to Be, with a bite of only 15%.
You're better off with the Pick 5, but that's neither here nor there for purposes of this column, which, after all, is titled How to Bet the Woodward. Suffice to say we'll have plenty of action in the TwinSpires Players Pick 5 all through the holiday weekend – and, relax, Frosted is an A.
However, that doesn't mean he is a clear-cut stand-alone Saratoga single in the manner of a Songbird (twice) or a Flintshire (thrice).
For starters, he is barely the top earner in the field at $3.85 million, or a few dinners at Siro's more than stablemate Mubtaahij, who finished 1 ¾ lengths ahead of him in the Dubai World Cup (G1).
There's also the matter of Bradester coming off three straight front-running wins, which means that if Frosted wants the lead again he may have to go 1:09 and change again to get it.
That probably won't happen. Frosted rated kindly enough in the Met Mile (G1) before taking flight nearing the stretch.
It does mean that a legit pace is a virtual certainty, which bodes well for Shaman Ghost, who will be double-digit odds for Jimmy Jerkens.
After prepping in a high-end optional claimer first time out this year, Shaman Ghost dominated the Brooklyn in his second start for Jerkens. Although the Ghostzapper colt came up a flat fifth after that in the Suburban (G2), Jerkens – who doesn't routinely conjure up excuses – offered two when I asked him about it Thursday morning:
“He didn't show up that day, but he did come up with a cough in between the races, which was kind of stubborn,” the trainer explained. “We got rid of it and then he looked like he trained up to the race good, but he sure was flat. You know, the rail was really not the place to be that day and it looked like he was in the slower going and kind of got a little discouraged. Maybe Frosted will be worried about Bradester and go at him early, and they get to going too fast...and it looks like he's certainly on par numbers-wise with the rest of the field.”
Classic bounce-rebound pattern; two real excuses; bullet work Sunday; 12-1 morning line.
A longshot flier to win is in order, as well exacta savers under Kiaran McLaighlin's pair.
For your pick-whatever pleasure:
A – 3
B – 1, 9
Photo courtesy of Adam Mooshian/Adam Coglianese Photography