by Jerry Shottenkirk
October 13, 2018
Another huge day of racing is on tap at Woodbine, this time with the Gr. I $800,000 Canadian International as the keynote event and the Gr. I $500,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes for distaffers is a solid event in its own right.
The late Pick 4 at Woodbine goes from races 8 through 11 and the Canadian International lives up to its name as horses from many different ports will try the 1 1-2 miles over the turf. The E.P. Taylor is for 1 1-4 miles, also on grass, and has some global reach to it as well.
As usual, trainer Chad Brown’s guns are fully loaded, with a pair in the Canadian and a trio of talented females in the E.P. Taylor.
Brown runs Funtastic and Focus Group, and the fact that those two are 8-1 and 10-1, respectively, shows how difficult of a proposition this could be for Brown, who is much more accustomed to having a favorite. Focus Group made the cut on this suggested ticket for the Pick 4, which is a is a 20-cent wager and has a $200,000 guaranteed pool.
Focus Group has won three of four races, but of those wins were in allowance races and the other was in a restricted stakes race. This will be by far his toughest test, but he has a good closing move and is unbeaten in the four races in which he was in going 1 3-8th miles or longer. He’s a true router not without a big chance.
Three of the four events in the Pick 4 are “spread” races, and the 20-cent bets make it possible to beef up the ticket much more than you would a 50-center. Thundering Blue, English Illusion, Johnny Bear and Desert Encounter are contenders in the Canadian and worthy of inclusion on the ticket.
The E.P. Taylor looks like an easier proposition for Brown stable. Santa Monica (5-2), Pollara (6-1) and Elysea’s World (7-2) are solid reps of the stable. If those three falter, Golden Legend and Starship Jubilee will probably be around to have some input late.
Race 8) #1 Dun Drum, #4 Skynyrd, #5 White Wedding, #8 Wiley O’Rielly, #9 Victor’s Dynasty, #10 Summer Retreat.
Race 9) #2 Thundering Blue, #7 English Illusion, #9 Johnny Bear, #10 Desert Encounter, #11 Focus Group.
Race 10) #2 Santa Monica, #3 Pollara, #5 Golden Legend, #7 Starship Jubilee, #8 Elysea’s World.
Race 11) #4 Written, #5 Nadeleine.
Ticket Cost) $60 for $0.20