How to Bet the Valedictory Stakes

Melmich - Michael Burns Photography Want to take on a difficult handicapping challenge this weekend? Then come join me in analyzing Sunday’s $125,000 Valedictory Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine. The uncommon (and very testing) 1 ¾-mile distance would make this race tricky to handicap even if it were being run on dirt or turf, the two most common racing surfaces in North America. Add in the fact that it is actually being conducted over the synthetic Tapeta track [...]

Bessarabian Stakes Offers Rematch of Ontario Fashion Stakes Rivals

Moonlit Promise winning the 2018 Sweet Briar Too Stakes at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo) If the field for Sunday’s $175,000 Bessarabian Stakes (gr. II) at Woodbine seems a bit familiar, that’s because the seven-furlong all-weather sprint is essentially a rematch of last month’s Ontario Fashion Stakes (gr. III) over the same track. The top four finishers from the Ontario Fashion—Silent Sonet, Jessica Krupnick, Moonlit Promise, and Code Warrior—are set to face off again, along with the sixth-place finisher [...]

Keying Avie’s Flatter in the Coronation Futurity

Woodbine Racetrack(Michael Burns Photo) This is hardly a creative opinion—to the contrary, it’s an opinion that will surely be shared by many—but it’s rather difficult to envision a scenario in which #3 Avie’s Flatter loses the $225,000 Coronation Futurity for Canadian-breds at Woodbine. In a race where three of the seven starters have never reached the winner’s circle, Avie’s Flatter stands out on pretty much any metric you consider. Class? Avie’s Flatter is the lone stakes winner in [...]

Why I’m Betting Moonlit Promise in the Ontario Fashion Stakes

Moonlit Promise winning the 2018 Sweet Briar Too Stakes at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo) Generally speaking, 2018 has been a pretty tough year for #1 Moonlit Promise, who will be among the favorites in Sunday’s $125,000 Ontario Fashion Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine. The daughter of Malibu Moon started her career with such promise, winning six of her first nine starts over the synthetic track at Woodbine, a streak that included three straight stakes victories at the end [...]

Why I’m Betting Santa Monica in the E.P. Taylor Stakes

Santa Monica winning the Dance Smartly Stakes (gr. II) at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo) There’s seemingly something for everyone in Saturday’s $500,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine, a 1 ¼-mile turf event that is shaping up to be one of the best betting races of the weekend. There are several European shippers… a talented local runner... a couple of three-year-olds… and three contenders trained by Chad Brown, who has surprisingly never won the E.P. Taylor Stakes. [...]

Keying Thundering Blue in the Canadian International

Woodbine Racetrack (Michael Burns Photo) It’s common knowledge that Europe’s best horses are generally superior to North America’s best horses going 1 ½ miles on turf, as recent renewals of the $800,000 Pattison Canadian International Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine clearly indicate. Horses based in Europe won seven consecutive editions of the Canadian International from 2010-2016, and they’ve won 13 of the 18 editions since 2000. Suffice to say, that’s quite a streak of success, and I’ll be [...]

Fog of War Rallies to Victory in Summer Stakes

Fog of War (left) rallies to victory in the Summer Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo) When Fog of War rallied to win his debut at Saratoga this summer with a determined late run, it seemed clear that trainer Chad Brown had yet another promising turf horse in his barn. That belief was vindicated on Sunday when Fog of War proved to be a most impressive winner of the $250,000 Summer Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine, [...]

La Pelosa Ships In, Runs Away With Natalma Stakes

La Pelosa winning the Natalma Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo) La Pelosa has talent—that much has been clear since she won her debut back in May. And following a series of frustrating defeats in Great Britain, Godolphin Racing and trainer Charlie Appleby pulled off a major coup when they shipped La Pelosa to contest the Natalma Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine and came away with a top-level prize. Not even breaking from post eleven in [...]