Woodward Stakes (Saratoga) Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
If you're playing only to win, go with both my top pick Tacitus (8/5) at odds of even money or better.
Post Position and Odds – Woodward Stakes
Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga!
|J Rosario||S Joseph Jr.|
|J Ortiz||W Mott|
|J Lezcano||T Pletcher|
|L Saez||S Hough|
|I Ortiz Jr.||T Pletcher|
|E Cancel||H J Bond|
Best Bets for the Woodward Stakes
Here are my plays ($30 in total)
$20 Exacta – Tacitus over Spinoff = $20
$20 Exacta – Tacitus over Prioritize = $10
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The favorite for last year’s Travers, Tacitus has three graded stakes wins to his credit, but he has yet to breakthrough in a Grade 1 event. He’ll look to rectify that situation when he tops a field of six in Saturday’s 67th running of the $500,000 Woodward at Saratoga Race Course.
Back at the 1 ¼-mile distance for the first time since Easy Goer won it way back in 1989, the Woodward should be right up the alley of the Bill Mott trained son of Tapit. Coming in off an eye-catching win in the 10-furlong Suburban (G2) on July 4, Tacitus is both well-proven at the trip and the Saratoga main track, where he finished second in the Jim Dandy and Travers last summer.
Chief among his rivals will be the speedy son of Curlin, Global Campaign. The winner of last year’s Peter Pan, the 4-year-old colt earned his first stakes victory of 2020 with a determined victory in the Monmouth Cup (G3) in his most recent start.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out two in the Woodward, and both should get plenty of support. The long-winded Moretti has won 3 of his last 4 races, including the 1 ¾-mile Birdstone at Saratoga weeks ago, while Spinoff exits a career-best effort while accounting for the Alydar Stakes also at Saratoga.
How to Watch the Woodward Stakes
|Woodward Stakes Race Information|
|What||Woodward Stakes (G1)|
|When||Saturday, September 5 — 5:30 pm Eastern time|
|How to Watch||Fox Sports 1|
After a hard-luck second in the Jim Dandy (G2) and a second-best in the Grade 1 Travers behind Code of Honor last summer, Tacitus finally looks primed to have his day in the sun at Saratoga. Since winning both the Tampa Bay Derby and the Wood Memorial early last season, the 4-year-old gray has kept the best of the company. He hasn’t often won, but he has run a number of strong races. He earned a bit of confidence when he found an easier spot in the Grade 2 Suburban two months ago, and he made the most of it, romping home by nearly 9 lengths. Saturday’s Woodward should be another level of class that he can handle. He is strictly the one to beat and the top pick.
He figures to go right to the early lead in the Woodward off his game, front-running score last time at Monmouth Park. The question will then be how far he can carry his speed. He’s never run more than 10 furlongs before, although he does have the pedigree to handle the distance. He has also never before competed in Grade 1 company. He looks like a horse who wins against a bit lesser but comes up short when facing the big boys. He was no match for Tacitus at this track in last summer’s Jim Dandy, despite that one having a bad stumble at the start, and I don’t suspect he will fare better this time around when stretching out to 1 ¼-miles.
This one could prove to be the biggest competition to Tacitus on Saturday and a big reason why is his fondness for Saratoga. His recent win in the Alydar, in which he easily beat some decent horses, marked the second straight summer that the son of Hard Spun came to the Spa and turned in an outstanding effort. Like the top one, he has enough early speed to keep in touch early, and the closing kick to finish well, which should suit him well at the 10-furlong trip. Second in the Louisiana Derby last year, he does lack the overall class of the top pick, but a repeat of his performance over the track four weeks ago puts him in as the most likely runner-up.
The son of Medaglia d’Oro has certainly come to hand as a 4-year-old, having finished first or second in all six starts this year. This looks to be a tough test, though. Two months ago, he took his shot at Tacitus at a mile and a quarter and was no match. Why will that change on Saturday? I really do not expect it to. His real talent seems to be staying at distances longer than the Woodward, and the fact that he comes out of a 14-furlong race last time makes me wonder about his sharpness for this grade 1 affair.
Of the two long shots on the board, this is the one that interests me more. He was a turf horse for the first 9 starts of his career, but the gelded son of Tizway looks to have really found a new home since the switch to dirt. In his four races after making the switch, he has rallied consistently well and looks to be coming into this one in career-best form. Last time, which was over the Saratoga surface, he rallied resolutely to get the job done over a very talented 3-year-old. Off that battle, Money Moves will run in the Kentucky Derby, and Prioritize will run here. Both are longshots with a chance.
The last horse listed is the one with the biggest career victory. That came last fall when Math Wizard upset the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at odds of 31-1. He has not won in five subsequent starts, and in fact, competed only eight days ago while finishing fifth in the Charles Town Classic. Coming back on short rest does not bother me, but without any early speed, I have a feeling he will have a very tough time making up serious ground in a race that figures to have a moderate early pace.
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.