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Usually I would do posts for all of these greats races, but computer troubles have limited my ability to work this week. I’ll do my best though. Woodbine betting has treated us well and it is the location of our largest ever hit as we cashed the trifecta and superfecta in the Queen’s Plate earlier this year. Let’s get cracking on these turf races.
Grade 3 $250,000 Summer Stakes (Tw0-Year-Olds, 1 Mile)
Todd Pletcher’s colt Finale (Scat Daddy x Twinkle by Lively One) dusted the competition last out to take the Continental Mile Stakes by 10 ½ lengths over less than stellar competition. He is listed at even money on the morning line and that price is much too low. I’ll make Excaper (Exchange Rate x Ada Ruckus by Bold Ruckus) my top pick. He looked strong in the debut drawing away to win by 3 ¼ lengths. He boasts two strong turf works since then and trainer Ian Black has opted to use lasix for the first time. The Emma Jayne Wilson ridden colt looks very solid at 15-1.
Grade 3 $200,000 Natalma Stakes (Two-Year-Old Fillies, 1 Mile)
Good luck finding a race more wide open than this one. Any one of the 13 entrants has a legitimate chance to win. I like to find a bomber in situations like this. Anna Sophia (Oasis Dream x Devout by Dehere) qualifies perfectly. The Bill Mott trained lass broke her maiden at first asking before running last in the Adirondack. She was facing stiff competition that day. Reason to like her in this spot include first time lasix and moving to a surface she is bred to love. Patrick Valenzuela is listed to ride and we love him here at Graded Stakes.
Grade 1 $500,000 Northern Dancer Tuf Stakes (Three-Year-Year-Olds and Updward, 1 ½ Miles)
Wigmore Hall (High Chaparral x Love and Laughter by Theatrical) looks to have this group over a barrel. The Irish bred gelding was last seen finishing fourth in the Arlington Million after quite a rough trip. This should be a big drop in class as he has faced the likes of Presvis, River Jetez, Gitano Hernando, Cape Blanco and Gio Ponti in recent starts. Any of those horses would be a heavy favorite here. Jimmy Spencer gets the call to ride in place of the injured Hailie Turner for trainer Michael Bell.
Grade 1 $1,000,000 Woodbine Mile (Three-Year-Year-Olds and Updward, 1 Mile)
Many of us have believed for quite a while that Courageous Cat (Storm Cat x Tranquility Lake by Rahy) is the best turf miler in North America. He will get his chance to prove it with Patrick Valenzuela riding for trainer Bill Mott. The colt was last seen winning the Shoemaker Mile by a short margin over Caracortado. The margin of victory is deceiving as he had him in his pocket the whole way. The competition is stiffer this time as he will face European invaders Side Glance and Dance And Dance. Despite that, I think he will be super tough to beat and consider him a solid single in multi race wagers.