2018 Breeders’ Cup Qualifier: Highlander Stakes Picks
Highlander Stakes Preview and Odds
In what appears to be setting up as an excellent betting race, Florida-bred Imprimis has gained morning line favorite status for the Highlander at odds of 5-2. Trained by Joe Orseno, the four-year-old gelding is undefeated in four consecutive starts to begin his racing career, including capturing his first stakes try last out in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint. That was run over a soft turf course on the undercard of the Preakness Stakes.
He looked impressive in winning by more than five lengths, but he’s taking a step up in class here, and appears to be a vulnerable favorite.
California Runner is a Graded-Stakes Winner
Coming in on a three-race win streak, and the winner of nine of 20 lifetime, Belvoir Bay (3-1) is a UK-bred who has spent the past three years racing in southern California. His last two wins came at the graded-stakes level at Santa Anita, including the (G3) San Simeon Stakes in April and the (G2) Monrovia Stakes in late May. In both of those efforts he chased very quick early fractions before taking over at the 1/2 mile mark and winning by 2 and 1 1/2 lengths, respectively. If he takes to the deeper Woodbine turf, he’s a solid contender here.
Although only a three-year-old colt, Corinthia Knight (8-1) has already raced an incredible 14 times, winning exactly half of those. He was a well-beaten ninth in his last start in France, but prior to that had won four straight, and had a runner-up finish in a Group 3 event in England last September.
Although he has one North American start already on his resume – running fourth in the Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes last November at Del Mar – he’ll be getting first-time lasix on Saturday, and that combined with carrying low weight of 112 lbs. could help get him into the frame as they come down to the wire at Woodbine.
The veteran in the field is seven-year-old Long On Value (7-2), a Virginia-bred trained by Graham Motion who has already had some success on the Woodbine turf course, as he ran third in last year’s (G1) Woodbine Mile. He’s only run once so far in 2018, but he made his return to the track after a nine-month hiatus a winning one as he captured the Mighty Beau Stakes at Churchill on the first Saturday of June.
That was his first win in eight starts, going back to July 2016, an while he can’t be counted out, he’s most likely running for a spot on the lower end of the exotics here as well.
The Highlander Stakes goes Saturday, June 30 from Woodbine Race Track in Toronto, Ontario. It’s race #9 of 13 on the day, and is immediately followed by the $1 million Queen’s Plate. Expected post time for the Highlander is 4:51 PM Eastern.
Entries w/ ML Odds
- Axtell (15-1)
- Imprimis (5-2)
- Corinthia Knight (10-1)
- Holding Gold (8-1)
- Lady Alexandra (6-1)
- Long On Value (7-2)
- Ikkerin Road (20-1)
- Belvoir Bay (3-1)
- Abbaa (15-1)
- Boreal Spirit (20-1)
Highlander Stakes Picks
- 1) #8 – Belvoir Bay
- 2) #3 – Corinthia Knight
- 3) #2 – Imprimis
- 4) #6 – Long On Value
Betting the Highlander Stakes
It’s going to be a great day of racing on Saturday at Woodbine, but if you’re not in the Toronto area and can’t get to the track you can still bet the full card with your online account with Bovada’s racebook.
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