The top race on Saturday on closing weekend at Saratoga is the $750,000 Woodward Stakes. A big field of 14 horses will go to the post for this race that begins at 6:47 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN. Six horses are listed at single-digit odds, with Seeking the Soul the favorite at odds of 9-2.
This should be an exciting race with a lot of possible contenders. Let’s look at the race and Woodward Stakes picks.
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Horse 1: Yoshida / Jockey: J. Rosario / Trainer: W. Mott / Odds: 5-1
Horse 2: Imperative / Jockey: D. Cohen / Trainer: A. Quartarolo / Odds: 30-1
Horse 3: Patch / Jockey: L. Saez / Trainer: T. Pletcher / Odds: 20-1
Horse 4: Tapwrit / Jockey: J. Velazquez / Trainer: T. Pletcher / Odds: 6-1
Horse 5: Hence / Jockey: R. Santana Jr. / Trainer: S. Asmussen / Odds: 20-1
Horse 6: Term of Art / Jockey: J. Alvarado / Trainer: B. Cox / Odds: 30-1
Horse 7: Kurilov / Jockey: J. Ortiz / Trainer: C. Brown / Odds: 10-1
Horse 8: Discreet Lover / Jockey: M. Franco / Trainer: St. Lewis / Odds: 8-1
Horse 9: Gunnevera / Jockey: E. Zayas / Trainer: A. Sano / Odds: 4-1
Horse 10: Seeking the Soul / Jockey: J. Castellano / Trainer: D. Stewart / Odds: 9-2
Horse 11: Leofric / Jockey: K. Carmouche / Trainer: B. Cox / Odds: 20-1
Horse 12: Sunny Ridge / Jockey: I. Ortiz Jr. / Trainer: J. Servis / Odds: 8-1
Horse 13: Zanotti / Jockey: J. Lezcano / Trainer: J. Guerrero / Odds: 20-1
Horse 14:Rally Cry / Jockey: M. Smith / Trainer: T. Pletcher / Odds: 20-1
You can make a case for any one of four horses as the favorite for this race on Saturday. Seeking the Soul is the morning line favorite at odds of 9-2, but it could be that Gunnevera, Yoshida or Tapwrit could go off as the post-time betting choice.
Seeking the Soul has raced 19 times and won five races. He is coming off a second place finish in a race at Indiana Grand in mid-July. It was the first race for the horse since the Pegasus World Cup in January. The horse did win last year at Churchill Downs against top competition in the Clark Handicap.
Gunnevera is a four-year old that has won six of 17 starts. The horse is coming off a dominant effort in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. The horse has competed against top horses in the past in the Travers, Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup.
Yoshida has raced 10 times in his career and won four times. His last win at this distance was in the Old Forester Turf Classic. He didn’t look that great in a fifth place finish in the Fourstardave. Perhaps he bounces back from that poor effort.
Tapwrit has just four wins in 12 starts. He won the Belmont Stakes in 2017 but has not won since. He has raced three times this year and disappointed. He has not shown the kick to win at this distance and could be overvalued.
There are three potential darkhorse contenders in this race in Kurilov, Discreet Lover and Sunny Ridge. Kurilov is a five-year old from Lookin At Lucky. He has won 7 times in 18 starts. He is coming off a good second to Realm in the Alydar Stakes. Discreet Lover has won six times in 42 starts. He may find a way to hit the board, but it is hard to play this horse to win. Sunny Ridge has six wins in 18 starts. He has been off since July 6, but he should like the distance and is not without a chance.
Woodward Stakes Picks
Picking a winner in a field of 14 horses is never easy, especially when there are a number of contenders. Seeking the Soul seems to be the hot pick among pundits, but I am not so sure. Gunnevera is a very good older horse and could be a better choice. I also think Sunny Ridge could get into the mix as a longshot.
The Woodward Stakes takes place on Saturday, September 1 at Saratoga Race Course with a start time of 6:47 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.
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