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Odds & Picks at Woodbine Racetrack Sept 19-20: Woodbine Mile, Natalma Stakes & More

War of Will
War of Will arrived in Canada earlier this week as he prepares for Saturday's Woodbine Mile. Photo by @WoodbineTB (Twitter)
  • Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto features three grade one races this weekend
  • Each of the graded stakes is a Breeders Cup win & you’re in event
  • Where can we find the best wagers on Saturday and Sunday north of the border?

Two major events remain on the 2020 horse racing calendar. The Preakness Stakes is two weeks from Saturday and will feature many of the horses who took part in the Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby. The first Friday and Saturday in November brings the Breeders Cup. Most elite horses running now are either prepping or trying to get into the Breeders Cup.

This weekend Woodbine has three big-time turf races, and each comes with a berth in the Breeders Cup. Saturday’s Woodbine Mile winner earns a ticket to the Breeders Cup Mile, while Sunday’s Natalma Stakes and Summer Stakes offer opportunities to get into the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, and BC Juvenile Turf.

Let’s look closely at the Woodbine Mile, and then check out Sunday’s pair of top-level races. It is easy to point out the favorite, but knowing when to go with the chalk, and when to play against them is the bigger question that can lead to a strong return on investment.

2020 Woodbine Mile Odds

Horse Odds
War of Will +250
March to the Arch +300
Starship Jubilee +500
Shirl’s Speight +500
Value Proposition +800
Admiralty Pier +1200
Olympic Runner +1600
Armistice Day +2000

Odds taken September 17 at Bet365

Horses are scheduled to race at 5:39 pm EST. The weather is expected to be clear and with temperatures in the mid 50’s. NBC Sports Network has television coverage of the feature events this weekend at Woodbine.

Favorites

Last year’s Preakness Stakes winner, War of Will, finally returned to the winner’s circle last time out. Following his victory in Baltimore he went five straight races with neither a win nor a place. That changed at Keeneland in July.

A winner of five out of 16 career races, War of Will is one for six on the turf. He consistently faces top competition and should feel comfortable or maybe even confident facing this group.

March to the Arch has seven victories in 23 tries including last time out at Woodbine.

A Florida bred, March to the Arch has three wins in four tries at Woodbine. This field is a step up in competition from his victory in August, but that is a very good sign he is running well.

Top Contenders

Last year’s Canadian Horse of the Year, Starship Jubilee has not flinched continuing her terrific form in 2020. A seven-year-old, Starship Jubilee has 18 wins in 37 races, and this year is four-for-five. She won Saratoga’s Ballston Spa Stakes in July.

She tried to win back-to-back races at The Spa but was fourth last month against a monster field in The Diana Stakes. She’s facing the boys today, which isn’t impossible but is tough.

Lightly raced four-year-old Value Proposition comes from top connections, trainer Chad Brown and owner Klaravich Stables. He’s three-for-five in his career, but both stakes tries have been disappointing.

The fact he was the tepid favorite against a very good field when he finished third in the Poker Stakes last time is telling. While he must run the best race of his life to win this one, expectations and confidence appear high.

Longshot

Shirl’s Speight is a three-year-old who has run just twice but you can’t beat two-for-two, and last time out was impressive.

A convincing stakes win on synthetic was pretty good, particularly after his debut on turf was a romp. The level of competition goes up considerably today.

The Bet

War of Will is not the most consistent of horses though he fits very nicely with this group. That said, a bigger price would be enticing. Chad Brown is the best turf trainer in North America, and the company that Value Proposition has raced against is elite. A minor step forward off his last race makes him really dangerous and betting value is present.

Pick: Value Proposition (+800)

Sunday’s Grade 1 Action at Woodbine

Summer Stakes

Only two horses have multiple wins in this field, and on a big day of horse racing in Canada, how can’t you like Gretzky the Great?

The Ontario-bred horse has done reasonably well in all three of his races. He has two victories and one place.

Ready to Repeat is the veteran in this field with four lifetime starts. He has two wins but finished behind Gretzky the Great last time out.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott looks to make it two-for-two with American Monarch, the son of American Pharoah. He won his debut at Saratoga August 8 but surprisingly was 7/1 that day.

Heat of the Night won his only career start just over two weeks ago at Gulfstream Park. The connections are showing great confidence following a victory at 11/1 to wheel him right back.

Pick: American Monarch

Natalma Stakes

Just one horse has multiple wins in the field, and that is trainer Graham Motion’s Alda. After a third-place performance in June at Belmont Park, she returned to win at Belmont and then shipped to Canada.

That tremendous kick down the stretch was enough for Motion to bring this filly back less than a month after that score.

Dreaming of Drew just missed as the favorite in that race. She has a win and two seconds in three career starts.

Seasons was heavily bet when winning her debut at Saratoga last month.

Sleek Lynx has top connections, owner Gary Barber and trainer Mark Casse. She finished second in her debut in July at Gulfstream Park.

Pick: Alda

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