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Woodward Stakes: A Time To Wet My Whistle

Horse racing fans should be getting ready for November’s Breeders' Cup, when the world’s best thoroughbreds will battle it out, and one of the races that most handicappers will find helpful is the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, which has been won by fillies in two of the last three years. In 2009, champion 3-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra beat the boys and last year, 4-year-old Havre de Grace won on her way to being voted Horse of the Year. However, with no females in the field this year, the males will take back this race. Seven older thoroughbreds will compete in the $750,000 event. The 1 1/8 mile Woodward is a key race that will go a long way to determine the best older dirt horse. The winner of this race will be one of the one's to watch in the Breeders Cup Classic.

Let's take a look at the field from the rail out:

PP-HORSE/Jockey/Trainer

 

1-RULE/Dominquez/Pletcher--He finished third in last year’s Woodward Stakes. Is coming off a ninth-place run in the Whitney Handicap, but he did win the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup in July. This five-year-old colt has shown much inconsistency, running a great race one time and then struggle in the next start. If he keeps with that pattern, then this should be a good one.

 

2-GOURMET DINNER/Garcia/Brown--He was a decent two-year-old and a so-so three-year-old, but he appears to be no better now into his four year-old season. Even with a career best, he would have to rely on all the others to falter. I won't wager on it, because it's not likely to happen.

 

3-MUCHO MACHO MAN/Smith/Ritvo--Has won four of his last five starts, including wins in two graded stakes races after finishing off his three-year-old campaign in 2011. Comes off a win in the Grade 2 Surburban Handicap at Belmont Park in July with Mike Smith in the saddle, and that one is back on today. Not sure this guy will be completely cranked up as these connections have the Breeders Cup Classic circled as the primary goal. Could still win this, but with little value here, I'll take a stand against.

 

4-TRICKMEISTER/Ortiz/Dutrow--A very quick horse that failed to make the lead in the Whitney, but didn’t run a terrible race while finishing fifth. May find himself once again in a chasing mode as he could get outrun again today for the lead by the rail horse. Gets a new rider in the up and coming Irad Ortiz, and we'll see how he handles the assignment. From the Rick Dutrow barn and that trainer has been hot. Might be a useful horse to use in trifecta's and/or supers.

 

5-STAY THRISTY/Castellano/Pletcher--With more than $1.5 million in earnings, this colt is the wealthiest of the Woodward starters. Kicked-off his four-year-old campaign with a second-place run in the Vandlandingham, followed by a fifth in the Surburban Handicap. We are well aware he loves the Saratoga main track with wins coming in last years Jim Dandy and Travers. Even though it's Pletcher, we may still get nice odds in a short field on a very talented horse.

 

6-TO HONOR AND SERVE/Velazquez/Mott--Has made three starts in 2012, all at Belmont Park. Won the Grade3 Westchester, then ran third behind Shackleford in the Grade 1 Met Mile, and his most recent outing was a fourth in the Surburban Handicap. Colt also finished seventh in the Breeders Cup Classic last November and appears to be heading once again for another shot at the big race.

 

7-CEASE/Rosario/Stall--A true horse-for-course. Is 3 for 3 at Saratoga. Is taking a very large step up in class and hasn’t finished higher than third in four graded-stakes starts. Will be a longshot in this race due to the field being strong, but you never know what might happen once the gates open. Offers great value in the exotics.

 

TRACKMAN'S ANALYSIS:

 

STAY THIRSTY is my call. He is usually good for one big performance per year in a graded-stakes race, but he’ll have to hold off Mucho Macho Man and To Honor and Serve. This race could possibly come all the way down to the wire, but Stay Thirsty will find enough to put an end to a twelve month dry spell and too wet my whistle.

 

Good luck, and as always enjoy the race! 

 

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Older Comments about Woodward Stakes: A Time To Wet My Whistle...

THIs is as close a race as I have seen in awhile and will have to see where the money goes before ventuing any type of GUESS, and that's what it may come down to.
To Honor And Serve is my Al Khali, he keeps burning my money, but I can't get off him. No reason to stop now.
I don't feel Stay Thirsty ever came back to the form he exhibited in the Travers. In this race I feel the 3-6-4 are going to finish ahead of him and he is gong to have to battle Rule and Cease for fourth. GL to all
super$2/3,6/3,6/1,4,,7/1,4,7/total of all bets $96.00
$3 saver 6/3/1-4-5-7
5,6/3,5,6/1,3-6/1,3-7
Here is my play for $10 tri, total $60/ 3/1-4-6
Mucho Macho Man should win.
That makes three of us!
I never feel bad about being on the same horse as the Trackman!

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Hi, my name is Nick Costa a.k.a. Trackman. As for my "nickname" of Trackman, it came about the following way: When people, either friends or family would inquire as to where I was going, my reply was always the same, "I'm going to the track man." I was born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York, about a 30 minute drive from the racetrack, in Fort Erie, Canada.  I was five years old the first time I attended the races. My father, who was a regular at the track, took me to Fort Erie. My first recollections were of just running up and down the stairs to and from our grandstand seats and the walking ring. Of course, after viewing the horses, I would run back up the stairs, and tell my father who to bet. He would look at me quizzically, and then proceed to place a $2 dollar wager on my selection for me. Through the years, with continuous trips to Fort Erie, and also to Woodbine and the now defunct Greenwood, my father would take the time to explain all the information in the Daily Racing Form. After I learned the basics of handicapping, I never met a racing Form I didn't like. If I had spent as much time on my studies as I did reading the Form, I probably could be sitting on the Supreme Court. Those early horse playing days have  lasted into my adulthood, as I still play the races today on a regular basis. But now I have added a couple of new dimensions. First, I officially became a licensed thoroughbred race horse owner back in 2000, fulfilling a dream come true. Fort Erie, where I mostly play the races and race my horses, is still my favorite track. It's my home track, where I fell in love with everything about the sport. In addition to the tracks mentioned that I visited with my father, I have graced the grounds of Churchill
Downs (Derby 134 and several Breeders' Cups), Saratoga, Mountaineer, Gulfstream Park, Sam Houston Race Track, Presque Isle, Monmouth Park and Belmont Park. Second, I started to write a few years ago when I started my own blog, called Triple Crown Chase.


The blog was established to provide some personal insight about the horses and trainers who compete against one another in the 3 yr old prep races leading up to the Kentucky Derby. I preview and review the preps races and extend coverage to include the Preakness and Belmont. Last year, my blog previewed the Canadian Triple Crown races for the first time. The second leg, The Prince Of Wales Stakes, is run at my home track of Fort Erie. I am honored and thrilled to be on board with Horse Racing Nation and I want to thank everyone for their support.