Horse Racing Nation expert picks: Woodward Stakes

Horse Racing Nation expert picks: Woodward Stakes
Photo: Chelsea Durand / NYRA

An intriguing mix of handicap-division stalwarts and newer faces lines up to face each other Sunday at Aqueduct in the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodward Stakes. It was originally scheduled for Saturday, but Aqueduct moved the card a day later due to flooding in the area.

The Woodward, at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt, drew a field of 10. Though 2-1 morning-line favorite Zandon is one of the more consistent horses in training, his penchant for finishing second makes this a fascinating betting race, especially on the win end.

Woodward fair odds: A morning-line long shot is the clear choice

This is how writers at Horse Racing Nation plan to play the Pacific Classic.

Ron Flatter, Ron Flatter Racing Pod

Winner: No. 8 Tyson

On the board: No. 2 Law Professor, No. 4 Zandon

Long shot I like: No. 6 Costa Terra

Analysis: Considering his record this year, I should make Zandon a cold second in whatever bet I make. Instead, I will build on Tyson, who got his best Brisnet Speed Rating despite having his side smacked at the start of his third-place run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). Presuming a cleaner start here, the cutback to 1 1/8 miles should do nothing but benefit him. With no lack of early speed in this race, Zandon should be just fine coming back to finish his usual second. With a stalking trip and anything other than the trouble he has had in three of his last four races, Law Professor should be there at the end, too. If Costa Terra can replicate the Brisnet ratings at this level that he produced in his last two allowance starts, then he should pay handsomely for getting in the money mix. My plan is to box these four in exotics.

Rowan Ward, Horse Racing Nation

Winner: No. 2 Law Professor

On the board: No. 4 Zandon

Long shot I like: No. 6 Costa Terra

Analysis: Law Professor has tactical speed, does his best work in New York, and tends to run well off a layoff. He should be back in his element in the Woodward at a great price. Zandon has not won since the Blue Grass (G2) last year but he consistently hits the board and has the quality to do so again in this. Costa Terra steps up in class for the red-hot Linda Rice barn; he should be finishing well and he is a better horse than he was the last time he tried nine furlongs.

Top Stories

This last season of racing was far from easy. Flig...
When betting opened for the Grade 2 Starlet Stakes...
Overnight purses could be cut by 25 percent for th...
Nothing Like You grabbed the lead out of the gate...
From his October launch of the National Thoroughbr...