Woodbine’s annual racing extravaganza is coming up Sunday. The power-packed card is headlined by the $1 million Queen’s Plate for 3-year-olds bred in Canada, and the card also features many other races with large, wide-open fields.
Making the card even more appealing to the average horseplayer are lower minimum bets for multi-race exotic wagers. Unlike in the U.S., where these wagers are in 50-cent increments, Woodbine’s minimums are 20 cents, and since a large majority of players are playing at that level, the payoff disparity is nowhere close to what one may expect. I’ve got two Pick Fives and two Pick Fours throughout the card, and the lower minimums allow me to spread very deep in certain spots. Let’s get to it!
$0.20 Pick Five: Race #2
64 Bets, $12.80
This is the home of our first guaranteed pool of the day, as this sequence boasts a minimum pool of $50,000. I thought it was a tricky wager to navigate, and again, this is where the lower minimum really helps.
Majestic Slew will likely be a pretty heavy favorite in the second. He’s won three races in a row and showed some flexibility last time out, rating from further back than usual and still getting up to win. If you want to single him, I get it, but Something Awesome is appealing cutting back to his preferred distance, and that one should be rolling late.
Races three and four are very difficult, and I’m hoping going four-deep in each leg is enough. If you saw this page Saturday night, you saw that I liked Biloxi Bay in the fifth. Unfortunately, the 12-1 shot, one I thought was quite live, scratched, so I’m singling Carlos Sixes, who was second behind Queen’s Plate contender Aurora Bay last out and will likely be a pretty heavy favorite.
The sixth is the King Edward, and Tower of Texas is the one to beat off a strong performance at this level last time out. I’ll also use Monster Bea, who had the deck stacked against him last time out. The early pace was not fast that day, but he still rallied to finish a strong second. He’s run competitive races at this level before, and he should be tuned up in his third start of the year.
$0.20 Pick Four: Race #4
24 Bets, $4.80
This sequence seems a bit chalky, but I did throw a few prices in there. In a departure from my Pick Five ticket, I added Shakhimat in the King Edward. There doesn’t seem to be much early speed signed on, and the presence of Javier Castellano is a plus. He certainly needs to improve to win this, but the setup is there, and I wanted a piece of him in some fashion in case that happens.
The seventh is an allowance race with an 8/5 favorite. That’s Synthesize, but I don’t think he’s a cinch. He’s lost his last six races, all at this level and never at higher odds than 4-1. My top pick is actually Lions Bay, who sits at a juicy 6-1 on the morning line. If you toss out his turf races (0-for-6) and only consider his synthetic form (5-for-19, six minor awards), he fits.
$0.20 Pick Five: Race #6
96 Bets, $19.20
I’m going fairly narrow to start and then opening things up in the Queen’s Plate, which doubles as the payoff leg of this sequence.
I’ve dissected the first two legs already. In a deviation from the Pick Four, I’m adding Bourbon First in the seventh. I don’t love the horse, especially at 2-1, but the low-budget approach I’m taking allows me to throw him in at not much extra cost.
The eighth is the Singspiel, and I view this as a two-horse race between morning line favorite Reporting Star and third choice Bangkok, both of whom want every bit of this 12-furlong route. I’m taking a stand against Bullards Alley, who has not won in more than a year and will be a pretty short price. I’m also going two-deep in the Dance Smartly, using 8/5 favorite Suffused and 2-1 second choice Rainha Da Bateria.
This brings us to the Queen’s Plate, and I’ve got a few thoughts. I want no part of any of the runners coming out of the Plate Trial, which was far from an impressive race. My ticket includes three logical horses. Probable favorite Holy Helena was sharp in winning the Woodbine Oaks, Channel Maker was a good second in the Grade 3 Marine against open competition, and Aurora Way showed plenty of promise winning on debut.
My big price breaks on the outside of this 13-horse field. Watch Me Strut has one bad race on his record, which came two back after a layoff of nearly six months. He rallied from well back in a paceless race last time out, and I think this race has some speed signed on. State of Honor will certainly go early, and I have a tough time believing the other riders will give him an easy lead. The faster they go early, the better this one will like it, and at 30-1, I have to throw him in.
$0.20 Pick Four: Race #10
96 Bets, $19.20
We come to the sequence that includes my lone single on the entire card. It’s Made You Look, who gets his preferred trip and some class relief in the Charlie Barley. I’ve spread around him, and hopefully we can get a price or two home to make this pay.
I’ve used some of the logical horses in the 11th, as well as first-time starter Heads ‘n Tails, who’s been working well ahead of her debut and may not need to be much to win. The 13th is a total mess, and if you want to hit the “ALL” button, I can’t say I blame you. I narrowed my ticket down to six horses, and hopefully, I’ve got the winner. Of the prices I used, Jail Time intrigues me the most. He’s 10-1 and took a big step forward last time out. More progression from start two to start three would make him a major player.