Woodbine Picks & Spotlight Race for June 19: Grade III Whimsical

Woodbine Racetrack returns with a Saturday card that features the Grade III Whimsical Stakes. Have a look at our 'spotlight' piece below ...
Woodbine Racetrack returns with a Saturday card that features the Grade III Whimsical Stakes. Have a look at our "spotlight" piece below ...

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After the loosening of some strict COVID-19 measures by the Canadian government, Woodbine Racetrack has resumed its 2021 Season. Lasting through November, it once again promises to offer some excellent Thoroughbred competition that you will not want to miss.

Saturday's card includes a robust slate of 12 races, and you should know that some of these field sizes are massive by North American standards. As usual, our turf-man has you covered, including a "spotlight" of the "feature" of the day, the Grade III Whimsical Stakes!

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Saturday, be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Horse Racing Picks

Race Spotlight: 6F (All-Weather) Whimsical Stakes (G3), $150k, F&M 4+

Finally … this Saturday at Woodbine Racecourse just outside Toronto, stakes racing returns to the center for Thoroughbred activity in Canada. It has been quite a year+ for CEO Jim Lawson & Co., and saying they are happy to be back, would be a massive understatement. The “feature” that will anchor the card, is the $150k Whimsical Stakes, which is a Grade III AW sprint that has drawn an excellent field. Surveying the PPs tells us that when conditioners like Kevin Attard, Wesley Ward, Josie Carroll, and last but certainly not least, Mark Casse get together, you know it’s going to be a great wagering opportunity.

The major challenge in handicapping this start is what do you do with the alums from last year’s Bessarabian Stakes (G2)? Attard’s Amalfi Coast #1, Casse’s Our Secret Agent #6, Ward’s Artie’s Princess #7, and Carroll’s Boardroom #8 are all coming off-the-bench, not seen since last November. That to me is more than just a bit of an issue. Graduating from 4 to 5-yrs-old can be a major step, and I would back a runner with some kind of recent race than one who is making such a major debut. No offense to these excellent barns, whose reputation precedes them; they have capability and class that can only be earned.

As for whom to choose, what about a runner like Ricky Griffith’s entry, a 5-yr-old mare named Sav #4? She returns to her original conditioner after a short stint at Gulfstream Park under Saffie Joseph. Her fitness level could be quite high, and I am thinking that though she failed to hit the board in her only contest down there (4th-HCP 5F turf), returning to Woodbine might be a major advantage. Last year, she was pretty smart looking in a number of OC tries, and there were several excellent examples where she won at this distance on both the turf and the AW. The best news of all … her price, with jockey Keveh Nicholls aboard, should be double-digits and then some.

Let’s use her on top for what could be a signature win, and see if some of Joseph’s magic wore off a bit. Being creative with the “alums” of that G2 might assist as well.

Wager Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Wheel, 4 w 1/6/7/8 w 1/6/7/8 and/or 1/6/7/8 w 4 w 1/6/7/8

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