Powell’s All-Graded Stakes Pick 3 for Woodbine Mile Day
Johnny Bear (orange silks) and Hawkbill battle it out in the 2017 Northern Dancer Turf (c) WEG/Michael Burns Photography
by Dick Powell
Woodbine has a big weekend of racing coming up and a juicy Pick 3 with three graded stakes race later on Saturday afternoon.
The first leg is RACE 9, the Canadian Stakes (Can-G2), a 1 1/8-mile one-turn turf event for fillies and mares.
NEW MONEY HONEY (#5) finished last year with two dull efforts, at least compared to what she had done the previous 12 months. Trainer Chad Brown brought her back at Belmont Park against allowance foes and, in a slow-paced race, she outkicked the competition to win by a neck. The winning time was not that great but all it was a prep race for the Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. There, she had some traffic going into the first turn before settling in on a wide trip. When the running got serious, she was no match for the top two but I think that she still has improvement and catches the right group today with Javier Castellano.
INFLEXIBILITY (#3) is the “other” Chad Brown trainee and the daughter of Scat Daddy has enough pace to get involved for the long run down the backside. She loves this course and takes off eight pounds from her last start.
STARSHIP JUBILEE (#6) was a good third in this race last year and comes in off a fast prep race.
Leg A: 3, 5, 6
RACE 10, the Bold Venture Stakes (Can-G3), is on the Tapeta main track going 6 1/2 furlongs.
PINK LLOYD (#3) is an amazing horse for the course who has won 16 of 19 starts here. The Canadian-bred won a Grade 2 over the track last year going six furlongs and scored in a Grade 3 two starts back. Last out, he rallied from off the pace to get up by a neck as the heavy favorite in the Kenora Stakes and he only picks up one pound off that win. I like that he shows a bullet workout on the Tapeta here last week.
SWEET LITTLE MAN (#10) has been racing well on the turf in his last four starts but shows a good record on the Tapeta in the past. The eight-year-old gelding should be able to get a clear, stalking trip from the outside with Luis Contreras.
YORKTON (#9) just missed in a high-class allowance event three starts back, then showed good speed to be fourth going seven furlongs on the turf against Grade 2 company. Last out, he took an early lead and held well for second behind the top choice and drops six pounds off that Grade 3 effort.
Leg B: 3, 9, 10
RACE 11 is the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (Can-G1) going 1 1/2 miles. It is an eclectic group of turf horses from around the world, and while I probably won’t be betting any of them back on the first Saturday in November, I like it as a betting race.
Going 12 furlongs is a one-lap configuration here with the first turn being tighter than the first. Saving ground is imperative since there is plenty of time in the stretch to find running room. MEKHTAAL (#1) was a good turf horse in Europe the past two years with a Group 1 win going nine furlongs at Chantilly in his second start of this year. The rest of the season has not gone as well as he shipped here and ran poorly in two Grade 1 races. He made his seasonal debut going this distance in a Group 2 after breaking slowly but he has trained well on the Tapeta and turf course at Fair Hill training center for this. His sire, Sea the Stars, is a huge source of stamina in pedigrees and he should have no trouble getting the distance. Jose Ortiz can get him covered up and use his closing kick to best advantage.
TIZ A SLAM (#6) has dangerous early speed and is one of those turf horses who does better at the marathon distance. He went gate to wire to win here at 10 furlongs on the Tapeta in the Dominion Day Stakes (Can-G3), then came back to beat the top choice in the Nijinsky Stakes (Can-G2) after dominating on the front end when allowed to set dawdling fractions. Last out, he held well for second as the odds-on favorite in the Sky Classic Stakes (Can-G2) and will be tough to catch if allowed to gallop loose on the lead.
JOHNNY BEAR (#4) was third behind the top two choices in the Nijinsky and returned last out to be second in the Halton Stakes at the same distance. He has two wins at this distance and sire English Channel has also produced many turf marathon winners.
Leg C: 1, 6, 4
I feel strongly that New Money Honey will bounce back in the first leg and will single her with my strongest ticket. Pink Lloyd looks impossible to beat so I will single him also:
5 with 3 with 1, 4, 6
If the first two favorites are vulnerable, it pays to play 3 X 3 X 3 for $27
3, 5, 6 with 3, 9, 10 with 1, 4, 6
I will also play straight exactas in race 11: 1 with 4 and 6.