Woodward Stakes at Saratoga

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - Saratoga in upstate New York will be the scene of the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes this Saturday, September 1. A nice purse of $750,000 is on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to go one and one eighth miles on Saratoga's main tack.

The Woodward Stakes has drawn a field of seven to go in race 10 on Saratoga's Saturday card. Post time is 5:45 PM. Let's take a look at all of the contenders and what we can expect in the second Grade 1 race on Saratoga's Saturday schedule.

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2012 Woodward Stakes Race Favorites

Mucho Macho Man - has been very impressive in 2012 but is still without a Grade 1 win. A win at the Florida Sunshine Millions Stakes over Ron the Greek and Turbo Compressor January 28 preceded a very good win in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Handicap on March 10. A respectable third in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 4 was followed by his latest triumph at the Grade 2 Suburban by an easy two and a half lengths on July 7. Last year's third place finisher in the Kentucky Derby is a multiple stakes winner who is certainly peaking as evidenced by his four wins in his last five starts. Katherine Ritvo has an impressive colt on her hands for certain.

To Honor and Serve - will make his fourth start of 2012. He recorded an impressive win at the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes on April 28 to start his year after a win in the Cigar Mile to end 2011 and went on to a third in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 28. Last time out was an unspectacular fourth in the Grade 2 Suburban on July 7. To Honor and Serve has seven wins a second and three third place finishes in 14 career starts and will be looking to get back in the win column after two so-so performances. John Velazquez gets the mount on Saturday.

Woodward Stakes 2012 | Remaining Field Entries

Stay Thirsty - Looked terrific last summer winning the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and Grade 1 Travers but has struggled since. He finished a respectable third in October in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes but followed it up with a disappointing 11th in the Breeders' Cup Classic to end 2011. Stay Thirsty was a decent second in the minor Vanlandingham Stakes on May 17 and followed it up last time out with a fifth in the Grade 2 Suburban. He may not be in the best form at present but Stay Thirsty is still on the radar for the Suburban.

Trickmeister - Trickmeister is an intriguing entry into the Woodward - six wins in his first seven career starts - the Grade 1 Donn Handicap in which he finished sixth being his only blemish. Since then has a third place finish behind Mucho Macho Man in the Suburban and most recently was an uncharacteristic fifth in the Whitney after challenging for the lead and then fading. He has four stakes wins but none of the graded variety for trainer Richard Dutrow.

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Cease - has five starts this year with two wins in the Maxxam Gold Cup Handicap and an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out, a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming race, a fourth in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland on April 22 and a fifth in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap on May 26. Cease's best work is done on dirt but in this one he may just be out of his league.

Rule - made his 2012 debut for trainer Todd Pletcher with an impressive win at the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup July 7 but was a horrendous ninth last time out in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap here on August 4. Rule has looked good at times but has only four wins in 40 career starts.

Gourmet Dinner - is a multiple stakes winner but hadn't tasted victory since the Jackpot Stakes in November 2010 before a win in the minor Majestic Light Stakes on July 29. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth on August 18.

2012 Woodward Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 10 on Saratoga's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:45 PM.

Post Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Rule R. Dominguez T. Pletcher
2 Gourmet Dinner A. Garcia B. Brown
3 Mucho Macho Man M. Smith K. Ritvo
4 Trickmeister I. Ortiz, Jr. R. Dutrow, Jr.
5 Stay Thirsty J. Castellano T. Pletcher
6 To Honor and Serve J. Velazquez W. Mott
7 Cease J. Rosario A. Stall, Jr.

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