OCTOBER 13, 2012
Woodbine's pre-World Championships is a worldwide affair
by Ed DeRosa
With three weeks to go until the first day of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, it would be easy to look past this weekend if not for significant international action on Sunday at Woodbine, which will stage three Grade 1 "Win & You're In" races on an 11-race card that also features another graded stakes as well as a pair of Pick 4 wagers with guaranteed pools.
To make playing this card even more alluring, Brisnet.com has teamed with Woodbine to provide players with FREE Ultimate Past Performances and Spotlight Selections from Mark Johnson (who, as the only announcer to call both the Epsom & Kentucky Derbys, knows a thing or three about international racing).
To access those free handicapping materials, click here to visit Woodbine's Pattison Canadian International Day microsite (PPs & selections are in the middle of page).
To help players make the most of those two guaranteed Pick 4 pools, TwinSpires.com has teamed with Woodbine to offer four-million points to players who participate. Hit either of the $.20 minimum Pick 4s and share in one-million. Wager at least $20 and share in another one-million points per pool if you fail to cash. Not a member? Register now and receive up to $1,000 as a sign-up bonus.
Each sequence includes a pair of stakes races. The early Pick 4 begins with the Grade 3 Durham Cup-Grade 1 Nearctic double, and I hope to kick things off with Vertiformer, who is the only shipper in the six-horse field but who has Polytrack experience by way of an allowance victory at Arlington Park, which is competitive enough with this group. Delegation is an up-and-comer, but I'll let him beat me at a short price.
In the Nearctic, Big Band Sound and Fire Lily both make sense as top choices, but I'll need to use Bear Tough Guy as well, who gets the rail and returns to turf and Woodbine after a nice allowance win at Presque Isle. This is a big jump in class given his previous graded stakes form, but there's a lot to like here third off the layoff.
The Grade 1 E.P. Taylor begins the late Pick 4, and includes the most likely winner of the stakes program for me in Siyouma. Winner of the Group 1 Sun Chariot last out, even more impressive is that this filly was within 1 3/4 lengths of Snow Fairy, who would probably be about 2-5 if she were in this race. That's no slight against this group, which is nice, but the top finishers in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet are just on another level.
The Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International also features a Group 1 winner in his/her last start with Imperial Monarch shipping west for Aidan O'Brien following a win in the Grand Prix de Paris. A three-year-old beating older in a Group 1 race in his fourth career start is quite an accomplishment, and this Galileo colt clearly fits with these, but given the three-month layoff and the ship, I'm willing to take a stand at a short price.
Instead let's try to other shippers in Joshua Tree (who won this race in 2010) and Reliable Man, who despite not winning in more than 13 months has been close in some good races.
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