Canadian International 2017: Odds and Analysis

October 13, 2017 05:16am

Sunday's Grade 1, $800,000 Canadian International has drawn a field of 10 veteran turf horses headlined by Erupt, who won this race last year. The International will be run at a distance of a mile and a half on the Woodbine turf course, which is actually outside of the main synthetic track.

The field is of graded stakes quality with two of the horses taking a Grade 1 in their most recent win. Four won a Grade 2, and four scored in a Grade 3 in their last victory. Amongst this group there are also three millionaires. Only five of the horses have had a previous start on the mile and half Woodbine turf course and three of them have a victory there.

Let’s take a look at the field for this big Woodbine event, which is most famous for being the final victory in the career of the immortal
Secretariat in 1973:

 Oscar Nominated
 [ML - 8-1 - Kitten’s Joy – Maker – Leparoux – 21: 5-6-2 - $1,168,155] One of the youngsters in the field as a four-year-old, he comes into the International off a big win in the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3). To find his previous victory you’d have to go back a year to Kentucky Downs once again. Leparoux retains the mount for Maker. On his best day, this son of Kitten’s Joy is a threat to win. He has never run at Woodbine, but this course would seem to be a good fit. Horses from Kentucky Downs have being finding success in their next starts. Might Like Woodbine.

 [ML - 6-1 Peer Gynt – Gallagher – Blanc – 29: 5-4-8 - $833,403] You need to go back to the winter of 2016 at Santa Anita to find a win for Flamboyant, when he strung together two graded stakes victories. Recently, he has been close out in California, but this trip to Canada does not seem to be ideal for this s6-year-old. Winless for 20 months.

 [ML - 20-1 Elusive Quality – Maker – R. Hernandez – 33: 9-4-5 - $830,040] This turf veteran has lots of quality wins in his PPs and on his best day he is capable of a quality victory. Earlier in the year he had two graded stakes scores at the Fair Grounds. More recently, a very respectable 4th in the Arlington Million is noteworthy. This Mike Maker runner lacks experience at 12 furlongs and seems best suited to going nine furlongs. Not at Twelve Furlongs.

 [ML - 5-2 -Galileo – O’Brien – Moore – 13: 3-2-3 - $1,110,609] Idaho has crossed the Atlantic three times in the past few months; first, to travel to Saratoga where he faded to 6th in the Sword Dancer. Then, the Aidan O’Brien runner was back in Europe to run eighth in the Arc. Now, the 4-year-old flies back to Canada to try and improve on his 5th-place finish last year. For comparison purposes his last win came at Royal Ascot where he defeated Chemical Charge. That much travel is bound to take its toll on a horse. Frequent Flyer Lately.

 Johnny Bear
 [ML - 12-1 English Channel – Brnjas – Contreras – 33: 7-7-5 - $562,366] This son of English Channel is in the best form of his career. For most of his career he has toiled in the allowance ranks, but now has two stakes wins in a row including the Northern Dancer (G1) last month on his home track, Woodbine. Can the 6-year-old keep it going to take down another big race? In Career Best Form.

 [ML - 12-1 Harlan’s Holiday – Graham – Vargas, Jr. – 17: 5-5-1 - $405,369] This son of Harlan’s Holiday is the likely pace setter in a field that is short on horses that run on the lead. His last three races have been very good. One of them was a front-running win at Delaware Park going today’s distance. He won the American St. Leger at Arlington and then lost by a head to Oscar Nominated. Dangerous on the Lead.

 Bullards Alley
ML - 20-1 Flower Alley – Glynshaw – da Silva – 34: 5-4-6 - $462,698] Bullards Alley has not won a race since May of 2016, and that was probably his most noteworthy victory, which happened in the Louisville Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs. He was second in a Grade 3 back in July at Woodbine, but this is a big step up in class for a 5-year-old that may be past his prime. Will Be a Longshot.

 [ML - 8-1 New Approach – Motion – J. Ortiz – 26: 6-6-5 - $515,321] Messi, who hails from the barn of Graham Motion, has had trouble finding the winner’s circle of late. His last win came more than year ago in the Sky Classic (G2) at Woodbine. He is still competitive, but at the age of 7, he may have lost a step. It is encouraging that Jose Ortiz stays on board, because he has so many options on any given weekend. A Step Slow?

 [ML - 7-2 Dubawi – Motion – J. Alvarado – 16: 5-4-1 - $1,459,612] Erupt has not won a race since last year’s running of this race. Since then he has been all around the globe competing in the highest level turf contests. Now in Graham Motion's barn, he prepped for this race with a 5th-place run in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park. He is one of the Grade 1 winners in the field, and that back class makes him very dangerous to repeat. Good Chance to Win It Again.

 Chemical Charge
ML - 5-1 Sea The Stars – Beckett – O. Murphy – 13: 5-6-1 - $207,719] This Euro will be making his first start in North America and is lightly raced for a 5-year-old. Last out he won a Group 3 on the artificial surface at Kempton Park, but the majority of his victories have come on the turf. In June, he ran 3rd behind Idaho at Royal Ascot in a Group 2, thus he has run well against quality horses. He is a horse that likes to run from off the pace and enjoys the 12-furlong distance. Not Impossible.

I’m going to look for a little bit of value and go with Oscar Nominated (ML 8-1), who I think may like this Woodbine layout. I will play him in an exacta key box with Erupt, Postulation, Johnny Bear, and Chemical Charge. That means if Oscar Nomination runs first or second with any of the other four, then it pays off.

EXACTA KEY BOX: 1 with 5, 6, 9, 10 = 8 combinations


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Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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