Sunday is Canadian International Day at Woodbine, and while that turf marathon and its sister race, the E.P. Taylor, aren’t quite as big as they were a generation ago, the two Grade 1 affairs headline a stacked card with plenty of wagering opportunities. Longtime readers of mine know I’m a sucker for the 20-cent minimum bets on multi-race wagers, and I’ve got three such tickets ahead of Sunday’s card. Let’s get to it!
$0.20 Pick Five: Race #2
144 Bets, $28.80
The first of my three tickets comes in the early Pick Five. My strategy is to spread around one key single, which doubles as my best bet of the day.
We’ll start off in the second race, a tricky maiden claiming event. The two favorites, #3 RELEASETHE GLACKEN and #4 CRIMSON RING, both have major questions to answer. The former ran well last time out but doesn’t have much of a resume to speak of other than that effort, while the latter was bet against better horses last month and didn’t run a jump. I’ll use both, and I’m also going to throw in #8 LAILAS PRINCESS and #9 SHEEGWEEHA. Lailas Princess has a few sharp efforts sprinting on synthetic at this level, while Sheegweeha has improved in every start and could benefit from the outside draw.
My best bet of the day comes in the third race. This is a maiden race for 2-year-olds, and I’m all-in on #10 WHERE’S ANTHONY, who had a lot go wrong in his debut last month. He broke slowly and encountered plenty of traffic, but he still rallied to finish third, beaten less than three lengths. Improvement is logical at second asking, especially for a barn whose recent numbers with second-time starters are strong. Per DRF Formulator, trainer Scott Fairlie is 3-for-11 over the past two years with such runners, and if you only include races contested on the synthetic track, that number goes to 3-for-9. Long story short: If Where’s Anthony doesn’t win, I lose.
I’m chalk-heavy in the fourth race. #4 GIADA VEGAS will likely be favored, but she’s a type that finds ways to lose. I have to use her, but I’m also using #5 YOU’RE MINE and #9 SNIPPY. The former has run well three times for a strong local barn, while the latter took a big step forward at second asking and should be prominent early.
The fifth race is a maiden event for 2-year-old fillies, and I’m going pretty deep. #2 EESTI STAR and #8 MAXIXE will both take money, but their trainers’ horses often need a race or two to get going, so I wanted coverage. I found it with #7 LADY WITH CLASS and #9 SWEET SILENT SOUL. Lady With Class has two OK races to her credit, while Sweet Silent Soul goes out for a barn on a recent hot streak and could benefit from the outside draw.
If we’re still alive, we’ll look to score by going three-deep in the sixth. This is the Grade 2 Nearctic, and it’s drawn an interesting field of turf sprinters. It’s another race where I’m chalk-heavy. #7 COTAI GLORY is a European getting Lasix for the first time and is probably the one to beat, but #1 DOWSE’S BEACH and #2 WHITE FLAG are both in strong form and could win with their best efforts.
$0.20 Pick Four: Race #4
72 Bets, $14.40
The first three legs of the early Pick Four are the same as the last three legs of the early Pick Five. I’ll finish this wager off by using both fillies entered in the Grade 3 Ontario Derby. #8 HOLY HELENA returns to her preferred synthetic surface, on which she won this year’s Queen’s Plate, while #2 GRIZZEL has run up against some very good horses and is 2-for-2 on Woodbine’s synthetic footing. I think one of them beats the boys, and hopefully, we’re cashing after it happens.
$0.20 Pick Four: Race #9
144 Bets, $28.80
There’s also a late Pick Five wager that starts in the eighth, but in all honesty, I couldn’t put together a ticket that I felt comfortable playing. That race is not easy, and I couldn’t narrow down the rest of the ticket. As such, I’ll bypass that wager for this one, which boasts a guaranteed pool of $250,000.
As you can see, I’ve got plenty of coverage in all four legs, and the opening leg, the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor, may be the most wide-open race on the entire card. #6 NEZWAAH and #8 BLOND ME both have big chances coming over from Europe, and if the former runs back to her Group 1 score two back, she probably wins. However, #3 QUIDURA and #4 RAINHA DA BATERIA both love this turf course, and I need to use them. The latter seems like a big overlay at 10-1 on the morning line, especially since she hasn’t run a bad race in her last six starts, three of which came at the Grade 1 level. However, I’m against #7 RAIN GODDESS, who will likely take money shipping in for Aidan O’Brien. Her Timeform numbers simply don’t stack up to the Euros that will surround her in the starting gate, and I’ve spread elsewhere, so I’ll try to beat her (even though it wouldn’t be stunning if she went off favored in this race).
The 10th race is the Canadian International, and this is another event where the European contingent looks tough. I’m using all three of them: #4 IDAHO, #9 ERUPT, and #10 CHEMICAL CHANGE, who may be underbet despite running pretty much the exact same race every time out and getting Lasix for the first time. I’ll also throw in #8 MESSI, who was very unlucky in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer. He could’ve won that race with a better trip, and I’ll give him one more shot.
I’m three-deep in each of the last two races, and I’m using a few prices. My top pick in the 11th is #10 SEVENCOMINGOUT, who tried tougher company last time out after a solid debut. He’s back at the right level and will be tough if he runs back to the September 16th effort. I’m using #4 THIRD MAN IN as well, although he’s developing a habit of collecting smaller checks. Most notably, though, I’m throwing in #9 RASTA MAN, who’s been off a while but has been working well and has a few previous efforts that would fit in with this group. He’s 20-1 on the morning line, and that could be a knockout horse in this sequence.
We’ll finish with a claiming event going seven furlongs, and while I’m using one of the likely favorites, I’m also throwing in two big prices. #8 INCREDIBLE DEE has run well in each of his past two starts at this level and route, but his lone win came with a perfect trip, so he’s no cinch. Meanwhile, #5 WILSHIRE STAR (15-1) and #11 SPANISH EXPRESS (20-1) were must-uses for me, especially at their likely prices. Wilshire Star has run his best races at this route, while Spanish Express is an example of one of my favorite angles, the “toss two” theory. That occurs when a horse runs a bad race, goes to the sidelines, and needs his return race as a tightener. If you go back to the races he ran in May of this year, Spanish Express more than fits here, and he could be a massive price on the tote board.