Handicapper Jarrod Horak plays the 2017 Canadian International with a $50 bankroll.
Sunday's Grade 1, $800,000 Canadian International (Race 10 at Woodbine) features an eclectic cast of 10, and the morning line choice is last year’s beaten favorite in this event, #4 Idaho (5-2). The Aidan O’Brien trainee won a Group 2 at Ascot in June but has been below par in three starts since including a fading 6th in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer and an 8th of 18 in the Grade 1 Arc. The earner of over a million dollars is classier than these on his best day.
The 2016 Canadian International hero, #9 Erupt (7-2), is also back for more, and Graham Motion trains him now. He has yet to find his best stride in 2017 (exits disappointing 5th-place finish in Sword Dancer) and he shows four Fair Hill works for this. He is fresh and might bounce back but his recent form is suspect.
#10 Chemical Charge (5-1) is getting good at the right time and might be the right overseas invader to back in this spot. Since finishing a couple of lengths behind today’s favorite Idaho in the Group 2 Hardwicke, he won back-to-back long distance events and overcame trouble to win his synthetic prep for this off a layoff Sept 9. He cracked the Top 3 in 12 of 13 starts and the Group 3 type has never been better. He might be able to step up and beat these at a hint of a price.
#6 Postulation (12-1) has turned into a quality long distance turf horse for sharp, low profile conditioner Edward Graham. After back-to-back wins in the Cape Henlopen and Grade 3 American St. Leger, Oscar Nominated nailed him on the line in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup. He has the speed to succeed and the stamina to last.
#8 Messi (8-1) won the Grade 2 Sky Classic at Woodbine in 2016 and exits a troubled 3rd in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer at this course/distance. Ortiz sticks and he will offer more value than Motion’s other entrant (Erupt).
#5 Johnny Bear (12-1) was up the track in a $40k/3L claiming race to end his 2016 campaign and has really turned the corner this year with a 5-for-9 season. He exits back-to-back local turf stakes wins at this distance and surprisingly ran down heavy favorite Hawkbill in the Northern Dancer. He gets the acid test but has never been better.
Kentucky Downs specialist #1 Oscar Nominated (8-1) tries to take his show on the road. He has not won a race away from that venue in more than a year but did hit the board in several turf stakes including the Grade 2 Muniz and Grade 1 Turf Classic.
Southern California shipper #2 Flamboyant (6-1) made a nice late run to land the show in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap and runner-up Itsinthepost returned to capture the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship. He has not won in quite some time and is 0-for-2 at a mile and a half.
#7 Bullards Alley (20-1) is 1-for-20 on turf but was good enough to hit the board in the Grade 3 Singspiel and Grade 3 Louisville Handicap. A minor award is probably the best that he can hope for.
#3 Enterprising (20-1) won a couple of graded routes at Fair Grounds over the winter but has been off his game in four subsequent starts.
Chemical Charge is my value top choice. Postulation can outrun his odds and Messi can surprise with clear sailing. Local hope Johnny Bear and Oscar Nominated are capable of hitting the board. Idaho is the one to beat but you never know what you are going to get from him.
$20 to win #10
$4 Exacta 10/4-6 ($8)
$4 Exacta 4-6/10 ($8)
20 cent Trifecta 6-10/ALL/5-8 ($6.40)
20 cent Trifecta Key 10/1-2-5-6-8 ($4)
20 cent Trifecta 6-8-10/1-5-6-8-10/6-8-10 ($3.60)