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Check out our predictions and odds for the Woodward Stakes at Aqueduct!
I Ortiz Jr
S Joseph Jr
Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
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After consecutive runner-up finishes in Grade 1 races, Zandon looks to find the winner’s circle again when he tops a contentious field of ten older males set for the Grade 2 Woodward Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct.
Trained by Chad Brown, the 4-year-old son of Upstart was second to Cody’s Wish in the the Met Mile two starts back running second to White Abarrio last time out in the Whitney.
Third in last year’s Kentucky Derby, he last won a race when he rallied to score in the Grade 1 Blue Grass 17 months ago.
Chief among his opposition in the 9-furlong Woodford is the international shipper Algiers. Trained by Simon Crisford, the Irish-bred has not run since finishing second in the rich Dubai World Cup six months ago.
Before that the 6-year-old gelding impressively won the first two rounds of the Al Maktoum challenge series.
Another contender in the $400,000 Woodward is the Todd-Pletcher-trainee Charge It. A son of Tapit, he comes in off a fourth-place effort last time in the Whitney.
A multiple graded stakes winner in New York, he was a romping winner of Belmont’s Grade 2 Suburban two starts back.
Trained by Chad Brown, this son of Upstart has not won in nearly a year and a half. That victory came in the Grade 1 Blue Grass, which was followed up by a good third in the Kentucky Derby.
In fact, he has run a number of very good races during his eight-race winless streak. Most recently second in a pair of Grade 1 races at Belmont and Saratoga, this is a spot where he could finally break through.
Having said that, this is a deep field and he will need to prove that he still wants to win. Very likely to be in the picture, he is a must use in the exotics.
The wildcard of the field, this experienced Irish-bred will be making his first starts since running a strong second in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup six months ago. It will also be his first start in the United States.
A decent turf horse, it appears he may be best on dirt and his form early this year in Dubai was excellent, with two nice wins before his World Cup effort.
He will need to be sharp on Saturday, and a fast pace might not do him any favors, but off his early season form, he must be respected as one of the most likely winners of the Woodward.
This son of Tapit has been a bit of an enigma since running second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby early in his career.
In wins like the Grade 3 Dwyer last year and the Grade 2 Suburban, he looked like he might be ready to step up to divisional prominence for trainer Todd Pletcher, but it has yet to happen for him.
An uninspired fourth last time behind White Abarrio and Zandon in the Whitney, he will need to show his best to win the Woodward. It’s certainly possible that this could be his most important win yet, but I am not convinced he will get it done.
Stabled in Canada, this lightly raced son of Tapit has come to hand nicely for trainer Josie Carroll. A pair of nice stakes wins at Woodbine prompted her to send him to Saratoga for the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup last time.
In his first ever race on dirt, he was bumped hard at the start, but ran on well to finish third. Off that experience, I believe he has a big shot here.
With six lifetime races under his belt, he only looks to be getting better, and having seen what good dirt horses look like, I expect an improved effort here. In a wide open heat, he is the top pick.
This Constitution gelding has plenty of good stakes experience, including a pair of easy stakes wins at Aqueduct. He was also second in a sloppy edition of this race last year.
He does his best running near the lead, but should find a strong early pace on Saturday to deal with. The Rob Atras-trained runner has been freshened since a disappointing run in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special.
I don’t think that will hurt him, but a fast pace probably will. He clearly likes Aqueduct, so he cannot be dismissed, but I am leaning to others on Saturday.
Trained by Linda Rice, this son of Flatter will try to prove that he belongs with graded stakes company on Saturday. A speed horse, he has been very consistent this year.
After five straight second-place finishes, he has broken through with two straight easy wins, all of which came against allowance company. The last of which came over the Aqueduct main track.
Off his recent form, he certainly merits respect, but with other speed in the race, he will not have things his own way early. For that reason, I am going to take a stand against as he moves up in class.
A South American import, this Saffie Joseph, Jr. runner has failed to win in five stakes tries since winning an allowance race impressively in his American debut.
He does like to rally and made up pretty good ground last time when second in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. If the pace is hot on Saturday, he looks to be one of the most likely beneficiaries.
He has not shown quite enough in his stakes attempts in the U.S. to make him a top pick, but I do believe that the multiple Group 1 winner in Chile has a real shot to rally into the exotics at a decent price.
This son of Speightstown is the second for trainer Chad Brown. While his stablemate likes to come from off the pace, this 5-year-old has plenty of early speed.
In fact, in a race with a number of speed types, he might be the one with the most early pace. He’s kept good company, but his form is a bit spotty.
He’s only made two starts this year and faded in both. He could improve third time out, but even at his best, he looks hard pressed to win a race like this.
The second of three for Linda Rice, this Gun Runner colt has been running in allowance company since a few unsuccessful tries in stakes company last year.
He has won only twice in 13 career starts, but has made progress since joining the Rice barn. A nice winner three starts back, he narrowly missed winning the last two.
He likes to rally and should benefit from a lively early pace. Having said that, I do like a few other late runners better here. He would not shock me, but I am looking elsewhere in this one.
A winner of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park last year at odds of 75/1, this Laoban gelding has yet to find the winner’s circle since.
Following a trio of poor efforts and two layoffs, he has shown some better form of late, finishing second in both starts this summer. He will also be running for the first time on Saturday for trainer Linda Rice.
While the strong new barn could help, there is nothing in his past performances to make me believe he can defeat a field of this class.
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.
Email: [email protected]
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