The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

June 15th, 2014

by Andrew Champagne

The hunter becomes the hunted Saturday at Woodbine, as a filly who pulled off a sizable upset last out will have a target on her back in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks.

Paladin Bay, who nosed the highly-regarded My Conquestadory in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes last out, leads a field of nine Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies who will go postward Sunday afternoon. The Harold Ladouceur trainee is extremely consistent, having won four of her last six in a stretch that also includes two second-place finishes, and she has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite.

However, this is a talented field, and I think both Paladin Bay and 3-1 second choice Lexie Lou may be overbet. Surprisingly, value could lie with an unbeaten stakes winner in Wild Catomine, who is 6-1 on the morning line. In her last race, the Fury Stakes, the daughter of Milwaukee Brew and the Smart Strike mare Smart Catomine sat close to an extremely hot pace. However, even after stalking fractions of :22.35 and :44.52, the Mark Casse trainee had enough left in the stretch to hang on and beat several foes that also show up here.

The nine-furlong distance is a bit of a question mark, but her breeding indicates that should not be an issue. There also isn’t a lot of early speed in this race, meaning jockey Gary Boulanger should be able to maneuver his mount into an ideal trip, one where Wild Catomine has plenty left as the field turns for home. If she’s still 6-1 when the field goes postward at 5:45 p.m. local time Sunday, that may wind up being a massive overlay.

The Sunday card also features the $150,000 Plate Trial, which, on paper, seems to be a one-horse race. We Miss Artie is the 3/5 morning line favorite in the seven-horse field, and his accomplishments dwarf those of the rest of the field. A Grade 1 winner at two for the Ramseys and Todd Pletcher, We Miss Artie won the Grade 3 Spiral two back before finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby.

I wish I could go against the son of Artie Schiller, but I can’t. His races on synthetic surfaces have been extremely good, and he’s beaten much better horses than those who will line up against him here. In fact, second choice Tower of Texas and third choice Man o’Bear are both eligible for non-winners of one allowance races, which doesn’t bode well in a prep for Canada’s biggest race.

If you’re searching for value, some could potentially exist in exotics with 15-1 longshot Man Cave. Unlike many others in this field, Man Cave has beaten winners. He’s shown some early speed and has hit the board in five of his six career starts. I’ll be steering clear of this race from a betting standpoint in favor of a stab at Wild Catomine in the Oaks, but if you’re looking for a bigger-priced horse to use behind We Miss Artie, Man Cave could be it.


Woodbine Oaks: Wild Catomine, Paladin Bay, Lexie Lou

Plate Trial: We Miss Artie, Man Cave, Tower of Texas