Friday, October 16, 2009

Woodbine's Nearctic Stakes Set To Be A Handicapper's Heaven

The $500K Nearctic Stakes is the first leg of what should be an intriguing Pick 3 of Breeders' Cup Win & You're In races to be held at Woodbine on Saturday. This competitive 11-horse turf sprint, headlined by morning line favourite Jungle Wave and 2007 Nearctic champion Heros Reward, kicks off the wager that leads into the E.P. Taylor Stakes and the Pattison Canadian International.

Please click on this link for a preview of the Pattison Canadian International contenders.

Please click on this link for a preview of the E,P. Taylor Stakes contenders.

Let's take a closer look at the field for the Nearctic Stakes.

STAKES Nearctic S. (Grade II)
Purse $500,000.For Three-Year-Olds And Upward. Six Furlongs.(Turf)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer

1 Field Commission (ON) 4/C L J R Leparoux 119 D J Vella
2 Silver Z (CA) 7/M L* R C Landry 114 N Wallis
3 Grand Adventure (KY) 3/C L P Husbands 115 M R Frostad
4 Karakorum Elektra (NY) 5/M L E Ramsammy 114 L Rice
5 Legal Move (ON) 5/H L C Sutherland 117 M Fournier
6 Little Nick (FL) 4/G L R Bejarano 117 A Iwinski
7 Chamberlain Bridge (KY) 5/G L G K Gomez 119 W B Calhoun
8 Bogue Chitto (FL) 5/G L G Olguin 117 I Howard
9 Heros Reward (MD) 7/G L* J Castellano 119 D Capuano
10 Storm Treasure (KY) 6/H L L Contreras 117 S M Asmussen
11 Jungle Wave (KY) 4/G L T Kabel 121 S C Attard

Field Commission is sent out be trainer Danny Vella following a 4 1/2 length loss to Ventura in the Woodbine Mile. The four-year-old experienced a minor bit of traffic trouble in that event and should also benefit from a cutback in distance. The sprinter has been in the money seven times in nine lifetime starts at the six furlong distance. Though winless on the turf, Field Commission was beaten less than a length by favoured Jungle Wave in the Play The King Stakes in August on the turf. Julien Leparoux has picked up the mount which offers great value at odds of 12-1.

Silver Z is a seven-year-old mare coming entered off a year-long layoff. The Nathan Wallis trainee broke her maiden on the turf going a mile back in 2007 and spent much of 2008 setting the pace in routes won by Zenyatta. Sprinting seems to suit this one, but this is a tough field to get back in the ring with after such a long layoff. Rob Landry is capable of coaxing the best out of this mare but 30-1 sounds about right.

Silver Z sets a sharp pace in the 2008 Vanity won by Zenyatta

Sam-Son Farms' Grand Adventure has three wins in five lifetime starts - all on the turf. Last out, the three-year-old son of Grand Slam set a hot pace in the Woodbine Mile before fading in the stretch finishing ninth. It was just his second start of the campaign. In 2008, Grand Adventure won the G3 Summer Stakes earning a berth in the BC Juvenile Turf that did not go well. There's room for improvement here and Eurico Rosa da Silva has enjoyed a strong 2009.

Grand Adventure wins the G3 Summer Stakes

The Spa's leading trainer, Linda Rice, sends Karakorum Elektra into this event off of a win in the $67,250 Memories of Silver Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf at Belmont Park. A five-year-old mare, Karakorum Electra has won five times on the Belmont turf including two wins against older males. Local jock Emile Ramsammy picks up the mount.

A Karakorum Racing feature on Karakorum Elektra

Legal Move has earned just over $900K lifetime for owner Bruno Schickendanz. Trained by Mark Fournier, the five-year-old horse was freshened for the six furlong King Corie Stakes on the poly won by Hollywood Hit in a ridiculous 1:07.38. (Hollywood Hit later failed a drug test for a tranquilizer issue. Imagine if he wasn't sleepy??!) Legal Move was well off the pace in that event but has performed well in turf sprints previously including a rallying fourth place finish, just behind Field Commission and Heros Reward who are here, in the G3 Highlander Stakes won by Smart Enough. Chantal Sutherland, who was aboard for that Highlander trip, is back in the irons.

Little Nick, a consistent four-year-old gelding by Tiger Ridge, has been in the money in seven of nine lifetime starts. This one chased home Chamberlain Bridge in the five furlong $250K Turf Monster Handicap on September 7th, rallying from eleventh - six lengths off the pace - to miss by a length and a half. Rafael Bejerano takes over on a horse that would appear to appreciate the added furlong of the Nearctic. At odds of 12-1, there is much to like.

Chamberlain Bridge and Little Nick finish 1-2 in the Turf Monster Handicap

Chamberlain Bridge has finished ahead of the above-noted Little Nick in his last two starts both raced at five furlongs. The five-year-old gelding by War Chant earned a 102 Beyer rating in capturing the Turf Monster Handicap at Philly Park racing six wide. Chamberlain Bridge had a great three-race stretch in April/May finishing third, beaten just a neck to Heros Reward and Cannonball at Keeneland; won the Turf Sprint at Churchill turning the tables on Cannonball and Smart Enough; and then held off Yankee Injunuity for a win at Indiana Downs. With an impressive eleven wins in twenty-two lifetime starts, only the added distance appears to be an issue. Garrett Gomez, the rider during the impressive Spring stint, is aboard at odds of 4-1.

Five-year-old gelding Bogue Chitto took his time getting to the track due to tendon issues. However, in nine career races the Craft Prospector progeny has never been out of the money. Bogue Chitto tried the turf for the first time this year winning a speedy six furlong optional claiming event in a time of 1:08.55. Bogue Chitto's three-race win streak was snapped last out in the aforementioned King Corie Stakes won in track-record time by Hollywood Hit. Jockey Gerry Olguin gets the call again at odds of 12-1.

Heros Reward, a multiple Grade 3 winner, won this event in 2007. In 2008, the seven-year-old gelding finished fourth, beaten just a length by True To Tradition. Last time out in the Turf Sprint at Laurel, Heros Reward encountered traffic trouble finishing third to Natural Seven who completed the 5 1/2 furlong distance in a track record 1:01.59. Regular pilot Javier Castellano returns for trainer Dale Capuano.

Heros Reward tops Cannobal and Chamberlain Bridge in the Shakertown at Keeneland

Storm Treasure, a six-year-old horse trained by Steve Asmussen, has three wins in 21 lifetime starts on the turf. The son of Storm Boot last won on December 20th, 2008 when defeating Chamberlain Bridge in a 5 1/2 furlong turf sprint at the Fair Grounds. Since that win, Storm Treasure has shown inconsistent form while racing at Keeneland, Saratoga and Woodbine. An underrated Luis Contreras gets the nod on this 8-1 shot.

Storm Treasure nails Chamberlain Bridge at the wire in the Bonapaw

Trainer Sid Attard is the master of the upper-level claiming game at Woodbine. In May of this year, Attard claimed Jungle Wave for $62.5K on behalf of the Tucci Stable and the four-year-old gelding has responded with three wins in five starts since including a snappy effort to win the G2 Play The King covering seven furlongs in 1:23.06. Last out in the Woodbine Mile, Jungle Wave took the lead at the top of the stretch and was beaten just a nose for third by Sterwins. A distance of six-seven furlongs suits this one best and the Hold That Tiger progeny is a deserving 5-2 favourite. Todd Kabel retains the mount.

Jungle Wave took the lead at the top of the stretch in the Woodbine Mile finishing fourth

There is not a lot to choose from between a half dozen or more of this very competitive group. With a hot pace seemingly guaranteed, it appears to set up well for closers Heros Reward and Little Nick.

My official picks for all three events will be posted tomorrow morning. Please do not forget to check out my previews of the Pattison Canadian International and E,P. Taylor Stakes contenders.

If you plan to be at Woodbine on Saturday, be sure to attend Woodbine oddsmaker Jennifer Morrison's seminar on betting the International which will commence at 11AM and promises to include some special guests.

No comments: