Best Bet – (1) PRICELESS WILL – Race 4
Spot Play – (5) RED FUJI – Race 12
Want to play the Pick 4? ($1.00 Races 4-7): 1 / 5, 6, 7, 10 / 6, 7 / 1, 3 = $20.00
Late Pick 4 (.20 cents, Races 9-12): 1, 6, 7, 8, 12 / 6, 8 / 3, 5 / 2, 5, 6, 7 = $6.00
(*selections done for turf)
Race 1 – (2) H IS JUST A NUMBER missed all of 2020 and just got back to racing on June 26, showing big speed in a tougher race. The winner that day has come back to win again. She should be able to lead all the way against this field. (8) SIMPLY MYSTERIOUS rarely runs a bad race and she chased the speed all the way in her season debut. She has come back to work fast. (6) FINEST JEWEL had a super record in 2020 of 11-3-4-0 and ended the year with a win. (7) MIZZONA is dropped sharply in class for her third start off the layoff.
Race 2- This is a tough maiden race to sort out but perhaps (1) SALTY CANDY can continue to improve. He raced twice on turf at Tampa Bay Downs to begin his career and battled hard on the lead in his Woodbine debut. If he can save a bit more power for the stretch run he is a major player. (3) ABRAXAS is a first time starter who is by $2.2 million earner Prayer for Relief and from a mare won won as a juvenile. He shows decent workout times. (6) DR. JEWEL needs to show more closing power but he dips down to a new, low level. (7) BULLET SPEED prefers a shorter race but he can stick around for a piece.
Race 3- (7) SPEEDY HANS was so happy to be back at Woodbine June 27 that he not only won but posted a whopping 91 Beyer Figure, a lifetime best mark. He has to avoid regressing off that stretch-running show. (4) AIM FOR THE SKY has worked fast since his season debut when third behind a good one. He might be tough to catch on the pace. (3) TORONTOTORO won his debut as most expected and he has come back with good workout times. He could be this good. (5) FLYING CURLIN is a delicate 5-year-old with few starts (his dam has produced several promising ones who were plagued by injuries) and this is his second outing since March.
Race 4- The Pick 4 begins with an allowance/optional claiming and (1) PRICELESS WILL got away sluggishly first time out this season in a fast race and jockey Rafael Hernandez is back to ride and he won twice on him last fall. (9) TOMCAT BLACK was ahead of the top pick in his return from an 11 month layoff and that was the best race of his career. He is a pace threat. (4) MUSKOKA GIANT should enjoy the moving to a sprint on the Tapeta and the drop in class. (5) WHERE'S MY HALTER was well prepared to win his first race of the year, a maiden event on turf.
Race 5 – There is a lot of early speed in this grass sprint and that should help (7) SILVER DAHLIA, who should come from off the pace. She had a drab season opener on Tapeta but loves the turf. (6) MILLENNIUM FORCE has shown signs of being very talented and she has shown she can stalk the speed in a turf sprint and win. (5) HELLO FRIENDS has been in the top three in most of her last nine races including those on turf. (10) SUNSPRITE was stakes placed on the grass as a juvenile and she has been given lots of time to get ready for her 2021 debut.
Race 6 – (7) FEELTHEBEAT is a juvenile from the Norm McKnight barn who debuted at Churchill Downs, was 2 to 1 and he missed by a head. He continues to work fast and now he tries Tapeta at Woodbine. (6) HEAT MERCHANT had the rail post for his debut against some of these and he had trouble at the start. (5) LITHUANIAN KING has looked impressive in his training since early spring. (8) MENTORING is a beginner bred in British Columbia and by a seed sire. He shows good workout times.
Race 7 – The Grade 2 Connaught Cup is worth $175,000 and there are some front running guys in the field who may set things up for (1) AVIE'S FLATTER who was so impressive in his 2021 debut. He loves grass and just has to avoid regressing too much off that huge effort. (3) OLYMPIC RUNNER has been busy since last summer. He may be over the top of his best form with races in Florida, New Orleans and New York but he has run some super races on this turf course. (6) GRAY'S FABLE is usually a front runner but he had a slow start in his latest and he rallied,, a style which would work well for him in this race. (7) HOLIDAY STONE is a rare starter at Woodbine for Canadians Jim and Susan Hill. He just won his eighth turf race, a sizzling win at Belmont.
Race 8 – (8) THRESHOLD was easy to like in his Woodbine debut and he had a fast pace to run at and won handily. He loves the grass too and will be closing. (6) CARMENOOTZ has not won in a long time but he ran okay in his first race for new trainer Kevin Attard. He has run well on the inner turf course. His stable (3) TAOS has not had much stamina in his North American races but he drops in class from his season debut. (1) CORDUROY ROAD likes grass and has speed and his prep times have been strong for this return.
Race 9 – (7) ROARING FORTIES makes the often-key third start off the layoff and he ran a big race in his latest on the Tapeta. He is bred for turf and he has speed to run at. (7) CLEAR DESTINATION ran well in tough races on turf in Florida and he had a big turf workout time on July 11. (1) OLD CHESTNUT won a turf sprint stakes race in 2019 and then went on the road for his next 11 races and has not won since. The Mark Casse trainees who have a similar profile usually run well when they return to Woodbine. The speed will come from the fleet (6) MARTEN RIVER who zooms up in class off a big win to begin the season.
Race 10 –(6) STRIKE A BEAT holds a mighty edge in Beyer Figures on this field of maidens but he is also 6 years old, has had 14 chances to win and he lost his season debut by a head after leading late. (8) SUMMER LOAD appears to be wanting this 1 1/16 mile distance and trainer Mike DePaulo has a solid win rate of 17% with horses moving from sprints to routes. (10) GRAZELY is getting blinkers for his season debut for owner/trainer Roger Attfield and he showed improvement last fall. (7) FINAL ECLIPSE adds blinkers also and he was a bit slow to begin his first race of the year and he can improve.
Race 11 – (3) SPARKLE SAMMY is a good turf sprinter who runs well when she is fresh and she is tough to catch on the pace. She appears to be the the most dominant pace horse in this field. (5) FACTORING ships in for Michelle Nevin who has seen this gal run well in turf sprints in New York. She should like the long stretch run. (4) WESTLODGE INTRIGUE is now 8 years old but she had a nice 2020 when she finally got back to sprinting on the grass. (9) IMA DAREDVIL has only tried grass once and that was a year ago and she chased a very fast pace. Her Woodbine debut on Tapeta was solid.
Race 12- I liked the way (5) RED FUJI came form last place and was only beaten just over three lengths in her season debut. She gets blinkers and at 20 to 1 in the morning line, is worth a look. (6) SPEEDY LYNN ran a 70 Beyer Figure in a race last year but she was one-paced in her 2021 opener.She moves out to 6 1/2 furlongs and adds blinkers. (2 RELOAD THE BANK is nifty looking first-time starter and a three-quarter sister to millionaire Pender Harbour. Top jock Rafael Hernandez is lured to ride. (130 MUSICAL RIDE ran hard to be second in her return but she is stuck with a wide post. Also consider (7) AVIE'S SKY who is getting a big class drop to maiden claiming,
Jennifer Morrison has been a public handicapper for the Toronto Star, Globe & Mail and Daily Racing Form. She is currently a writer for CanadianThoroughbred.com, Blood-Horse and is the simulcast handicapper for Ajax Downs.
Photo by Mr. Will Wong
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