North of the Border

Let’s go north of the border up to Toronto where there are two Grade 1 races at Woodbine this afternoon – the EP Taylor for fillies & mares and the Canadian International for colts and geldings.

We think the North American contingent has a better chance in the latter than the former.

Woodbine Race 9 – EP Taylor – #6 Nezwaah (5-2) is the morning line favorite and the horse to beat. Two-back, she won a Group 1 at The Curragh and then was no match for Enable in the Yorkshire Oaks. Enable, of course, returned to win the Arc, and there are no Enables in this race. Our other main use is #8 Blond Me (6-1). You can safely toss her last race when something went wrong and she was not persevered with. Before that, she was second to the excellent Winter in a Group 1 at Goodwood.

#7 Rain Goddess (9-2) comes in for Aidan O’Brien but is sure to be overbet and didn’t run well in the Beverly D two months ago at Arlington. O’Brien is 8-69 in North America over the last five years but five of those wins are Breeders Cup races. In non-BC races, he is just 3-32 (his wins were Deauville in the 2016 Belmont Derby, Highland Reel in the 2015 Secretariat, and Adelaide in the 2014 Secretariat). Also note that Highland Reel and Adelaide are world-class Group 1 runners.

Of the North American runners, we prefer #4 Raina Da Bateria (10-1) who is 2-3 over the course and has a win over the distance.


Woodbine Race 10 – Canadian International – The 5-2 morning line favorite is #4 Idaho, also for Aidan O’Brien. He is making his second visit to this side of the Atlantic this year after running sixth (of seven) in the Sword Dancer. The Sword Dancer did fall apart late and he was forwardly placed in there, but the form of that race did not come back strong in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic two weeks ago. Idaho was also fifth at 7-5 in this race last year. We’ll let him beat us.

#9 Erupt (7-2) won this race last year and he didn’t run that well in the aforementioned Sword Dancer either. However, he did not run with Lasix that day and adds Lasix today as he makes his first start for Graham Motion. He’s probably the horse to beat. There are, however, two alternatives, at longer prices, we want to take shots with.

We’ll throw a few bucks on #8 Messi (8-1), who should have won the Northern Dancer last time (of course we bet him that day). He’s #4 in the race below.

Had Jose Ortiz been able to get him outside sooner, he very likely would have won that race. Here’s the problem. Johnny Bear, who did win that race, is 12-1 in here and this is a much tougher spot. Still, he ran very well last time and two-back, was compromised by a very slow pace and ran well in there too.

However, our top selection is #10 Chemical Charge (5-1). While everyone focuses on Erupt and Idaho, we’ll take the longest-priced Euro. Chemical Charge raced against Idaho at Royal Ascot and had to wait on the inside while Idaho came up outside and got the jump on him (Chemical Charge is #4, in the back in maroon, fourth among the rail runners, while Idaho is just behind the pace in the Coolmore orange and blue).

He also had a little trouble in his last start, a 12-furlong stakes race on Polytrack last time. He’s been pointed to this spot by Ralph Beckett, while this is more of an afterthought for Idaho.


The Play – For $18, we’ll play $6 doubles with Nezwaah into Chemical Charge and Messi and then $3 with Blond Me into those two.

One more…Woodbine Race 6 – Nearctic Stakes – We really liked #2 White Flag’s (7-2) race in the Allied Forces at Belmont last time where he made a quick move on the turn to run down the talented Big Handsome. We’ll take him for the small upset of #1 Dowse’s Beach (5-2), who was terrible last time in the Lucky Coin at Saratoga and #7 Cotai Glory (2-1) who comes in from Europe and has to run six furlongs instead of five, which can be a very significant difference in these turf sprints. He faded back in his only six furlong race this year.

Good luck.

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