Canadian International 2018: Odds and analysis for Saturday's race

October 11, 2018 02:20pm
Canadian International 2018: Odds and analysis for Saturday's race
Photo: Courtesy of the NYRA

The Grade 1, $800,000 Canadian International, which will be run on Saturday at a mile and a half on Woodbine's unique E. P. Taylor turf course, which is located closest to the grandstand and outside of the main track.

Last year American trainer Tim Glyshaw broke a streak of seven European victories when his 42-1 longshot, the late 
Bullard’s Alley, ran off to win by more than 10 lengths.

Decades later, the International still may be best known as the race in which 
Secretariat made the final start of his career. On a cold, snowy, and foggy day Big Red drew off to an easy 6 ½ length victory.

Here is the field of 11 for the 2018 Canadian International with morning odds. Carded as race 11, post time is scheduled for 6:48 p.m.
 

Markitoff [ML 20-1 – Giant’s Causeway – M. Maker/I. Ortiz Jr. – 18: 2-2-2 - $150,668] This Mike Maker runner has not won a race since January when he took an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. Since then he has toiled in graded stakes as well as allowances. Most recently he ran fourth in the Northern Dancer. Taking yet another shot.
 

Thundering Blue [ML 2-1 – Exchange Rate – D. Menuisier/F. Berry – 20: 6-3-4 - $473,205] This son of Exchange Rate is a Kentucky-bred who has been racing in Europe in the top group races. Last out, he won a Group 3 in Sweden, but more impressive are a third in the Juddmonte International (G1) behind Roaring Lion and Poet’s World, and a win in the York (G2). A repeat of any of his last three efforts would make him hard to beat. Racing well against the best in Europe.

Khan (GER) [ML 10-1 – Santiago (GER) – H. Grewe/Lecoeuve – 14: 2-1-2 - $156,602] This German-bred won his last race in a Group 1 stakes in Germany at 20-1 odds for the biggest victory over his career. He has carried 132 pounds in his last four starts, and his regular German jockey will make the trip over to Canada to ride. This has to be a big class challenge off that recent win. German Group 1 winner at a price.

Funtastic [ML 8-1 – More Than Ready – C. Brown/J. Velazquez – 10: 4-2-1 - $409,943] Funtastic was the 23-1, front-running upset winner of the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park when he was one of four entered in the race for Chad Brown. He came back to run seventh in the Sword Dancer (G1). His best performances came when he was on the lead. Will factor in the pace.
 

Tiz a Slam [ML 20-1 – Tiznow – R. Attfield/S. Bahen – 20: 6-3-1 - $843,200] Local trainer Roger Attfield sends Tiz a Slam into the International, which is a race that Hall of Fame conditioner is trying to win for the first time. The son of Tiznow prefers to run on the lead, where he should battle with Funtastic. He has been competing in graded company at Woodbine all summer with two wins and a second. Last time, he faded to sixth in the Northern Dancer. Should help ensure an honest early pace.
 

Spring Quality [ML 4-1 – Quality Road – G. Motion/E. Prado – 12: 6-3-1 - $960,797] In his best form in his first two starts of the year, Spring Quality followed a second-place finish in the Fort Marcy behind Robert Bruce with an 18-1 victory in the Manhattan (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Since then, he's run third in the Sword Dancer and then a disappointing last place run in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1). Who knows what to expect this time? At his best, he can win this race.

English Illusion [ML 15-1 – English Channel – S. Pion/R. Hernandez – 27: 4-2-6 - $343,987] This one is Woodbine-based, where he won four times, including in the Halton Stakes over Johnny Bear, who then won the Northern Dancer (G1) two weeks by turning the tables on English Illusion. Connections claimed this horse for $25,000 right before the Halton. Can he run a third big race off the claim?

Bandua [ML 20-1 – The Factor – J. Sisterson/Beschizza – 6: 2-0-1 - $81,226] – Former Doug O’Neill assistant Jack Sisterson brings this 3-year-old to Woodbine to face older horses for the first time. The Calumet Farm runner ran his first four races in Ireland for Dermot Weld and then debuted in America with a third in the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington Park. At Kentucky Downs he ran fourth in the Dueling Ground Derby. Finds a new challenge against elders.

Johnny Bear [ML 8-1 – English Channel – A. Brnjas/L. Contreras – 40: 8-8-6 - $859,208] This 7-year-old is a Woodbine mainstay with at record on the Toronto track of 33: 6-8-4, which includes wins in the Northern Dancer (G1) the past two years. Johnny Bear got a perfect ground-saving trip this year. In 2017, he came up empty in the International on the heels of his big win in the Northern Dancer. Woodbine vet deals with an outside post.
 

Desert Encounter (IRE) [ML 6-1 – Halling – D. Simcock/Atzeni – 22: 7-4-5 - $388,789] This Irish-bred comes across the pond to run in the International. He won a minor stake in England in August after facing big names like Poet’s World, Cracksman and Enable. Has faced some of Europe’s best. Classy enough?
 

Focus Group [ML 10-1 – Kitten’s Joy – C. Brown/J. Ortiz – 10: 4-0-2 - $227,940] Focus Group is one of two from the Brown barn here. He won his last two starts, which includes the John's Call going a mile and five-eighths at Saratoga. That Jose Ortiz keeps the mount is a good sign.

Summary
: European runner Thundering Blue looms the horse to beat in the Canadian International. He has noteworthy past performances against the best runners in Europe. On class alone he has a big advantage over this field.

Tiz a Slam and Funtastic ensure that there will be an honest pace as they both have had their best performances while racing on the lead. Funtastic won the United Nations at Monmouth Park and Tiz a Slam has graded stakes wins at Woodbine from the front.

Thundering Blue, Focus Group, Desert Encounter, Johnny Bear and English Illusion will have an ideal set-up for their closing moves and should be the ones battling for the top spots at the wire.

 

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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.



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