Highlander Stakes at Woodbine

Dave Bond, OTB Writer
Updated: June 22, 2012 -- 1:30 PM ET

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Highlander Stakes is on tap for this Saturday, June 23rd from Woodbine. Horses three years old and upward will sprint six furlongs on Woodbine's main track as they chase their share of the $200,000 purse.

A field of 10 has been entered in the Highlander. It is race 5 on Woodbine's packed Queen's Plate Sunday card with a post time of 1:59 PM. Here is a look at the 10 starters and what brought them to this Grade 2 event.

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2012 Highlander Stakes Race Favorites

Gypsy Ring - has been on quite a roll lately - three wins including the last two in a row, a second and a third place finish in his last five starts - all at Woodbine. Gypsy Ring ended 2011 with a third in the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes and a second in the Grade 2 Kennedy Road Stakes but has won his only two starts of 2012 - the minor Debut Stakes on April 6th and the New Providence Stakes on May 21st. Gypsy Ring is in great form ahead of Sunday's race and is the early favorite.

Fiddlers Patriot - finished second in this race last year and followed it up with a third in the Ecclesiastic Stakes at Saratoga and a fifth in the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes here. In his only start this year, Fiddlers Patriot won the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes in impressive fashion at Pimlico on May 18th. Julien Leparoux will get the mount for the early second choice.

Highlander Stakes 2012 | Remaining Field Entries

Signature Red - only has two wins since 2010 - both coming in this race! In two starts this year Signature Red has a third in the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes on May 6th and a sixth most recently at the Grade 2 Connaught Cup here on May 27th. He has lost seven straight heading into this year's Highlander but he lost seven straight before the 2011 version of this race as well. Needless to say, Signature Red loves this stage but is not exactly in the best form - but we've heard that all before.

Essence Hit Man - is riding an impressive three race win streak into this weekend - the wins include the Grade 3 Kennedy Road and the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes on this track. This will be only his third career start on grass but based on his recent results, Essence Hit Man has to be in the conversation.

Arctic Fern - most recently finished a decent third in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup here to follow up a win in an Allowance at Woodbine on May 17th. In 12 career starts Arctic Fern has six wins including one minor stakes race, one second and one third place finish.

Highlander Stakes betting at Woodbine with OffTrackBetting.com

Surfrider - French import that has raced only twice on North American soil. A fifth in the Grade 3 Shakertown Stakes in her US debut followed an impressive win in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Belmont last time out on June 3rd.

Bear Tough Tiger - had a tidy two race win streak in Allowance races end with a fifth in the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes here on May 6th. Bear Tough Tiger has only six career starts but does have four wins and a second place finish in those starts.

Stormy Rush - most recently finished fifth in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup here on May 27th to follow up a win in an Allowance at Keeneland. Stormy Rush also looked decent in finishing third in last year's Summer Stakes here and in the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland last October.

Smokey Fire - win be racing for the first time since October 2010 when he won three stakes races including the Grade 2 Play the Kings Stakes here. Smokey Fire will be looking to just be competitive after a long layoff.

Fatal Bullet - has raced twice in 2012 finishing third last time out in an Allowance here and before that winning an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track in April. Last year, Fatal Bullet had some decent results including a third in the Jacques Cartier Stakes and a third in the Grade 2 Play the Kings Stakes.


2012 Highlander Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 5 on Woodbine's Sunday card with a Post Time of 1:59 PM.

Post Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Fiddlers Patriot J. Leparoux G. Weaver
3-1
2 Bear Tough Tiger E. Wilson R. Baker
20-1
3 Stormy Rush P. Husbands R. Attfield
15-1
4 Artic Fern T. Kabel M. Keogh
8-1
5 Signature Red L. Contreras S. Attard
15-1
6 Smokey Fire E. Da Silva S. Attard
15-1
7 Essence Hit Man J. Campbell A. Cappuccitti
4-1
8 Fatal Bullet E. Wilson R. Baker
10-1
9 Gypsy Ring J. Stein P. Buttigieg
5-2
10 Surfrider (IRE) R. Dominguez E. Kenneally
6-1

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