by Johnny D
September 18, 2020
As Santa Anita connections await clear skies and the cessation of damaging fires in the nearby areas, Belmont and Churchill carry the late-September banners as the most popular tracks operating in the US this weekend. However, Saturday, north of the border in Toronto, Canada, Woodbine has an outstanding card highlighted by the Grade 1, $1 million Ricoh Mile.
Below is one man’s opinion of the Late Pick 4. Horseplayers have plenty of options throughout the 12-race card that beings at 1:10 pm with a final post scheduled for 6:45 pm. The Woodbine Mile will go as the 9th race at approximately 5:39 pm (All Times Eastern). The main event is included in two Pick 4s—one worth a guaranteed $100k that begins with the 7th race and another worth at least $200k that begins with the Woodbine Mile. There’s also another $100k guaranteed Pick 4 that begins in race 4 and there are two Pick 5s—one that starts with the 2nd race and another launching with the 6th. Additionally, Xpressbet is offering a 1-million-point split on each of 3 Pick 4s Saturday and two others on Sunday. Make certain to register to be eligible for the promotion.
While the payoffs are extremely attractive, nothing requires players to wager on Pick 4s and Pick 5s. Those bets often pay extremely well, but they are commensurately difficult to hit and often drain bankrolls. Besides those wagers there are many other options, including Win and Exacta wagering on every race! For our purposes, we’ll take a look at the late Pick 4 but, if you’re interested in having some fun without risking a bundle, then think about playing our Pick 4 selections in Win and Exacta wagers. You probably won’t hit a home run but a double in the gap ain’t a bad way to go.
Race 9 (5:39PM ET) // G1 RICOH Woodbine Mile // 1 Mile (Turf)
1. March to the Arch (Casse/Husbands) - 5/2
This 5-year-old ran the best race of his life last out to win the Gr. 2 King Edward at this track and distance. He’s 2-for-2 here on turf. While racing predominately in graded company, he wins a race about every 6-8 months. Rafael Hernandez, who rode March to the Arch to victory last out moves to favored War at Will. Both horses race for trainer Mark Casse. He needs to be respected in here off that strong last out and will be closing late.
2. Armistice Day (Minshall/Moran) - 20/1
Blinkers come off for this 4-year-old gelding but he seems overmatched in here.
3. Shirl’s Speight (Attfield/Kimura) - 8/1
Winner of 2 in as many starts, this 3-year-old is being thrown to the wolves for his third start. He was slated to try the Kentucky Derby but became sick before the race and didn’t enter. He broke maiden going 7 furlongs over this layout and then won the Gr. 3 Marine in his next against fellow sophomores. This field is much tougher.
4. Starship Jubilee (Attard/Stein) - 4/1
If you can’t appreciate this Gr. 1 winning mare, then you’re not a true racing fan. She’s 18-for-37 lifetime, 6-for-13 over Woodbine turf and 5-for-8 with 2 seconds at the distance. This is the kind of horse that if you were in a foxhole, you’d want beside you. She’s 7-years-old now but has won 4 of her last 5 and 7 of the last 9! Expect her to be about mid-pack early. Despite that awesome record at the distance she hasn’t tried a mile since blowing a 3-length lead in the stretch here over a yielding surface in the Gr. 2 Nassau in May of ’19. Consider this professional a contender in here and possibly an exotics key.
5. Olympic Runner (Casse/Fukumoto) - 15/1
The least fancied of 3 Mark Casse-trained runners, this 4-year-old gelding closed well to be second at six furlongs on the main track in the Gr. 3 Vigil last out. He’s fit but this appears to be a big step up in class. He usually comes from well off the pace in sprints but should be a bit closer to the early pace at one mile.
6. Admiralty Pier (Minshall/Bahen) - 10/1
This 5-year-old gelding is an interesting proposition in here, especially in vertical exotic plays like exactas and trifectas. He figures as the speed and will be the main target for favored War of Will. How long will this guy hang around? That’s the one you need to answer when you decide where to use him. Message here is don’t dismiss this guy at anywhere near 10-1 odds.
7. Value Proposition (Brown/Contreras) - 6/1
This is a lightly raced 4-year-old ridgeling shipping north from New York for trainer Chad Brown. Anything from that barn has to be considered but this guy will need to run better than he ever has before. That’s not impossible, especially for these connections, but he may be overbet because of those same connections.
8. War of Will (Casse/Hernandez) - 2/1
Last season’s Preakness winner returned to turf to win the Gr 1 Maker’s Mark at Keeneland last out July 10. He has worked well since including a bullet :59 1/5 five furlongs at Churchill Downs. He began his career with a quartet of turf races but didn’t break maiden until on a sloppy Churchill main track going a mile and one-sixteenth. He then annexed the Gr. 3 Lecomte and Gr. 2 Risen Star in his next two starts. Eighth in the Kentucky Derby after a puzzling dud in the Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby as heavy favorite, this son of War Front captured the Preakness next out. This guy is a Gr. 1 winner on both turf and dirt and that’s a rare combination. He’ll be favored in here and has every right to fire another big race but there are reasons to go against him. First, his turf speed figures really don’t dominate in here. Second, his best races have come on the turf. We’d love to bet against him, but he’s got a license to improve because he’s making just his third start as a 4-year-old, is fresh and has a trainer who knows how to win this race. He must be used and because of the difficulty of the late Pick 4 we’ll single him in our suggested wager so the ticket isn’t too large.
Most Likely Winner: #8 War of Will (2-1)
Should Run Well: #4 Starship Jubilee (4-1) #6 Admiralty Pier (10-1)
As mentioned earlier the 9th race is part of two Pick 4s—one that begins with the 7th and one that starts with the 9th. The latter is a difficult animal because there are a pair of 2-year-old grass races in the sequence—a five-furlong stakes race for fillies and a restricted maiden race at six and one-half furlongs. Two-year-old races often are unpredictable, toss in the turf factor and things become even scarier. Bombs may be bursting in air!
Race 10 (6:14PM ET) // Woodbine Cares S. // 5 Furlongs (Turf)
#2 Dirty Dangle (10-1) has a five-furlong turf maiden victory in solid time. Must be respected.
#4 Chatelet (6-1) didn’t win her only maiden turf start but ran well enough to be considered in here for a winning barn. She’s got speed.
#5 Souper Munnings (2-1) switched to turf after two decent main track tries. She’ll probably stalk the early pace.
#7 Illegal Smile (8-5) is trained by Wesley Ward, who’s great with this type of runner. Lasix was added and blinkers removed last out and she showed speed and was passed late in a stakes race. That was an improvement over her second outing at Belmont in a maiden turf race when second. She remains a maiden.
Race 11 (6:45PM ET) // Maiden Special Weight // 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)
This is an absolutely wide-open mess. Use as many of these as you can. We’ll list a few with comments but have no real opinion. Bombs away!
#12 Lucky Score (6-1) has some things in his favor. According to Thoro-Graph statistics, trainer Ralph Biamonte hits at 27% with all 2-year-olds and is 36% with 2-year-olds 2nd time out. Those are some gaudy numbers and can’t be ignored. This son of Lookin At Lucky has worked every 7 days and has a :35 2/5 from the gate bullet August 30.
#6 Saturday George (3-1) finished second in his only start on main track.
#2 Derzkii (20-1) has 2 fair races under his belt—the most recent in a restricted stakes. If he takes to the turf, his steady style may work well.
#7 Justintimegosnorth (12-1) has a nice stamina building three-quarter work for this.
#8 Keep Grinding has been working every 6-8 days and has a bullet five-furlong move September 7.
Race 12 (7:15PM ET) // Optional Claiming // 6 Furlongs (All Weather)
#9 Last American Exit 9 (12-1) A repeat of either of Last American Exit’s first two races would put him in the mix. He’s worth a shot at anything close to 12-1 odds.
#7 Speedy Moonlite (3-1) has a pair of races that fit in here. Last out in a stakes try he wasn’t competitive. These are easier.
#5 Bend in the River (4-1) has several races that make him competitive in here, in fact, all of his starts except for his only turf try fit.
#11 Executive Search (6-1) ought to be close early and has a race two back that makes him competitive. Before his last out on turf he showed solid improvement. If that improvement resumes, he’s got a solid chance.
Suggested $.50 Pick 4 Ticket ($40 Total)
There’s no way to approach this particularly difficult Pick 4 sequence without spending a decent amount of money. There are other ways to attack Saturday’s Woodbine races. We’ll construct a Pick 4 opinion below, but don’t neglect Win and Exacta wagering.
Race 9: #8 War of Will
Race 10: #2 Dirty Dangle, #4 Chatelet, #5 Souper Munnings, #7 Illegal Smile
Race 11: #2 Derzkii, #6 Saturday George, #7 Justintimegosnorth, #8 Keep Grinding, #12 Lucky Score
Race 12: #5 Bend in the River, #7 Speedy Moonlite, #9 Last American Exit, #11 Executive Search