Woodward Stakes 2017 Picks
Woodward Stakes Preview
Since taking an abbreviated shot at the 2016 Triple Crown - running third in the Kentucky Derby - Gun Runner (2-5 favorite in the morning line) has shown steady improvement as he gets older, and has emerged as one of the best horses racing in North America.
He comes into the Woodward having won two consecutive Grade 1 races, those being the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill, and the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga in late July, by a combined 12 lengths. He's won four of his last five starts overall, with the only blemish a runner-up finish to 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup.
All of that adds up to make him clearly the one to beat here. And although Saratoga has a well-deserved reputation as being a graveyard of heavy favorites, his win in the Whitney seems to indicate he can beat that particular curse as well.
Options for Exactas, Trifectas, and Superfectas
So if we concede Gun Runner to the top of the ticket, who in the field might fill out the bottom of the exotics? Breaking from the gate just outside of Gun Runner, Rally Cry (5-2) is a front running colt who comes in off his first stakes triumph, having blown away a pretty good field by eight lengths in the ungraded Alydar Stakes at Saratoga back in July. Prior to that, his only wins have come at the maiden and then allowance level, although he does have a Grade 1 start on his resume, running sixth in the Metropolitan Stakes at Belmont Park this past June.
Coming from down on the rail is Neolithic (6-1) who didn't embarrass himself when he tried knocking heads with the big boys earlier this year in the (G1) Pegasus World Cup and then the Dubai World Cup, finishing third in both events. A bonafide late-runner, he prepped for this by taking an allowance-level race at Saratoga in early August, rallying from seventh place after the first half-mile to go seven-wide into the stretch and get up to win by a neck.
In the #4 post is the only five-year-old in the field with War Story (8-1). Of his 22 lifetime starts, 15 have come at the graded-stakes level, although he only has a single win out of that bunch taking the (G2) Brooklyn Invitational at Belmont Park two starts back. Most recently he was fourth in the Whitney. He's a mid-pack runner who is going to have to hope someone else tries to push Gun Runner into a suicidal speed duel up front.
The final horse in the field of five is Discreet Lover (30-1). He was last seen finishing sixth in the Whitney at odds of 59-1, and you can expect he may be that high again in a field where he seems completely overmatched by the favorite, if not one or two others.
The Woodward Stakes goes Saturday from Saratoga Race Course, with an expected posttime of 6:45 PM Eastern. Note there is no Show wagering on the race. The Woodward is race 11 of 12 on the day, and follows the running of the (G1) Spinaway Stakes. You can bet both races, as well as the full Saratoga card through the Today's Tracks link at most online racebooks.
Woodward Stakes Entries
- Neolithic (6-1)
- Gun Runner (2-5)
- Rally Cry (5-2)
- War Story (8-1)
- Discreet Lover (30-1)
Woodward Stakes Picks
- #2 - Gun Runner
- #1 - Neolithic
- #4 - War Story
- #3 - Rally Cry
Category : Betting Picks
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