Stakes plays for Woodbine on Sept. 12
A pair of challenging stakes races will take center stage at Woodbine on Sunday. Each of the events features well-matched fields lacking a standout, which makes the wagering very attractive in my opinion.
Toronto Cup -- Race 8
Sophomores will travel one mile on the green in a very competitive tilt. A total of nine will go postward, with Queen’s Plate runner-up #1 Riptide Rock among the ones to beat. The Stronach Stables’ homebred was a sharp debut winner in his lone previous run on the turf at Woodbine as a juvenile, and he showed his class with a powerful late rally when just missing in the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Justin Stein will pilot the deep closer.
I will box the gelded son of Point of Entry with #2 Artie’s Storm in an exacta play. Trained by Paul Buttigeig, the son of We Miss Artie has won or placed in each of his five lifetime performances to date, and has run a pair of very good races since switching to the lawn as of late. The gelding smoked a bullet five-eighths drill last Sunday and will have David Moran in the silks.
- $20 exacta box 1-2 ($40)
Belle Mahone S. -- Race 9
Seven fillies and mares will vie in the 1 1/16-mile affair in what appears to be another competitive event. Conditioner Mark Casse has a trio of contenders in the field, including my top pick, #5 Art of Almost. Five-year-old daughter of Dansili has won or placed in seven of eight tries on the Woodbine green, and the mare could also be the one to catch turning for home in a field lacking pace. The dark bay runs with the hood on for the second time and rates a big chance with Emma-Jayne Wilson signed on for the voyage.
#4 Skygaze, also from the Casse shedrow, comes in fresh while seeking her third lifetime tally on the surface. The tactical American Pharoah four-year-old was a closing third in the Trillium S. (G3) on the main oval last time out, and I expect improvement on this occasion. Patrick Husbands riding adds to her appeal.
I will also include #2 No Mo Lady for the exotics. The Michael Trombetta trainee has not won in eight straight events, but she has kept some good company along the way and is training well of late. The consistent sort will rally for a placing beneath Contreras.
- $20 exacta 5 with 4 ($20)
- $10 exacta 5 with 2 ($10)
- $5 trifecta key 5 with 2,4 ($10)