It's a skinny Saturday of graded stakes racing with just a handful with at least $100,000 for in the money taking. While the number of races might be lacking, money won't be in the $1 million Woodbine Mile. To no great surprise, the Woodbine Mile is a 1-mile race at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada – would crack the cliché Eh joke here, but it so overplayed -Eh.
A field of eight will compete on Woodbine grass in the ninth. The distance and surface favors front of the pack types as a dozen of the 19 to visit the winners' circle for 1-mile turf races were labeled early speed, meet to date.
Woodbine's oddsmaker sees 2019 Preakness Stakes champion WAR OF WILL (PP: 8 ML 8-1) as the horse to beat. He's not what we could call a speed horse; although, he doesn't let the leaders get too far way early on. He rated right of the front pair in his last two efforts, both on grass, and tried to find another gear in the stretch. The strategy worked in his last as WAR OF WILL scores the win in the Grade I, Makers Mile at Keeneland.
MARCH TO THE ARCH (PP: 1 ML 5/2) is the second choice. Although he doesn't fit distance and surface bias, he appears to love the track. The five-year-old has races a couple of times on Woodbine grass and won them both, including his last outing at 1 mile. That's what we call a horse for the course. His last was his first start off the bench since June 20th, producing the highest, last race speed figure. Typically, he's better in round two off the pine.
SHIRL'S SPEIGHT (PP: 3 ML 8-1) is likely to be one of the pacesetters. He's hit the track twice, winning both. His debut was a smashing 8 lengths win on grass. Afterwards, he took to Woodbine's all-weather, synthetic track and made easy work of the field in a Grade III triumph. He's been on break since July 25th but has put some real fast training session on the track since. We expect the lightly raced three-year-old to return to work ready to go for three in a row.
STARSHIP JUBILEE (PP: 4 ML 4-1) loves, and we mean loves to run a mile. She's done it eight times, winning five with two seconds. The seven-year-old mare also loves Woodbine, taking the checkered flag in six of 13, along with two seconds and a third. Trainer Kevin Attard doesn't enter too many into graded company but wins at a healthy 23% when he does. Maybe he should enter more?
Here's how our handicapper ranked these, our top four selections for the Woodbine Mile in our Pro Subscribers' Bonus Commentary.
"MARCH TO THE ARCH has the highest, last race speed figure and should be better in his second start off the bench. SHIRL'S SPEIGHT is undefeated in two starts and neither have been close. WAR OF WILL has raced at Woodbine twice with a second and third. He's training has been mostly strong, suggesting he'll be sharp. STARSHIP JUBILEE has won six of her last eight starts and has won five of eight at the distance."
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