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Las Vegas, NV - Saratoga Race Course in the great state of New York will be the scene of a pair of Grade 1 stakes races this Saturday, August 31. One of those stakes is the Woodward Stakes - a 1 1/8 mile test for horses three years old and upward. A nice purse of $750,000 will be on the line.
The Woodward Stakes has drawn a strong field of seven entries to go in race 10 on Saratoga's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:45 PM. Lets' take a look into the past performances of all seven combatants for this lucrative and intriguing Grade 1 stakes - five of which are former Grade 1 winners.
Successful Dan - half brother of Wise Dan was... successful last year until injury put him on the sidelines in June. He has won four of his last eight races including the Grade 2 Greenbrier Fayette Stakes in October 2010 and the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes last May at Churchill Downs. He returned to action April 21 to a nice win in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland after a 10 month layoff and a second place finish in the Grade 3 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap behind Fort Larned way back in June of 2012. Last time out was a very respectable second in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational here August 3 after a disappointing fourth in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs June 15. In 14 career starts, Successful Dan has eight wins, three seconds and one third place finish - not bad! He has been a tad disappointing but seems to be trending upward ahead of the Woodward. He is the 5-2 morning line favorite, will be looking for his first Grade 1 score and will have Julien Leparoux in the saddle.
Paynter - Bob Baffert trained Paynter had a very impressive second in the Belmont Stakes in 2012 and went on to a terrific win in the Grade 1 Haskell last July. He then was forced to the sidelines for close to 11 months with an illness that almost claimed his life. Paynter recently returned in story book fashion with an Allowance score at Hollywood Park by 4 1/2 lengths as 2-5 favorite June 14 and then finished a respectable second behind Kettle Corn in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap last time out here July 27. He now has three wins and three seconds in his last six starts. Paynter has four wins and three seconds in eight career starts - the lone off-the-board finish coming in April 2012 - a fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. He is 3-1 on the morning line and will break from post 5 with Rafael Bejarano in the saddle Saturday.
Fort Larned - looked very good at the start of 2012 with wins in the Challenger Stakes and the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream but had a disappointing eighth at the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs June 16 for his worst result of last year. He won the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap and followed that with last year's Whitney score at 7-1 odds and then recorded his best ever result - a terrific win in the Breeders' Cup Classic to end his 2012 campaign. He started 2013 off poorly - a sixth in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap was followed by a fifth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in April. Last time out was another disappointment - a fifth in the Grade 1 Whitney. He will be looking to get back on track against a strong field Saturday and will break from the 3 hole.
Mucho Macho Man - had not raced since a seventh place finish in January in the Sunshine Millions Classic before a third in the minor Criminal Type Stakes at Belmont Park June 14 and another third last time out in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational here August 3. This after a terrific second to Fort Larned in the Breeders' Cup Classic, a very good second in last year's Woodward at Saratoga September 1 and a win at the Grade 2 Suburban by an easy two and a half lengths last July 7. He placed in six of seven starts in and has a pair of thirds in just three races this year. So we know that he is not scared to be in there with the best! He has six wins, five seconds and six third place finishes in 21 career starts and will be looking to better his second place finish from last year in this race. Edgar Prado will be in the saddle for Mucho macho man Saturday.
Woodward Stakes betting at Saratoga Race Course with OffTrackBetting.com
Ron the Greek - looked very good in 2012 for trainer Bill Mott with two wins and three second place finishes in five starts before a sixth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park September 29 and an OK fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic in November. Among the wins last year were the Grade 1 Steven Foster Handicap and the Santa Anita Handicap. Ron the Greek recorded a repeat win by 11 1/4 lengths in the Sunshine Millions Classic Stakes January 19 at Gulfstream but was fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 2. He went on to a pair of OK thirds - in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster behind Fort Larned June 15 and before that in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic April 20. Last time out was a fourth in the competitive Grade 1 Whitney against many of his Woodward foes. He has just one win this year but has shown very good form in the past against top competition. Hopes are that he can regain that form.
Flat Out - finished third in this race in 2011 and then went to win the 2011 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont September 29. He was a decent third in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic but had two off the board finishes in his next two starts - a fourth in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap and a fifth in the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic at Fair Grounds March 30. He bounced back in a big way with a terrific score in the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes April 27 beating Cross Traffic and earning a Beyer Speed Figure over 115 and followed that with a third in the competitive Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap May 27. Last time out was his second win in three starts - at the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap July 6 at Belmont Park. Flat Out has placed in seven of his last nine starts and has won two of his last three overall for legendary trainer Bill Mott but has yet to record a victory at Saratoga.
Alpha - finished second to Gemologist in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial in April 2012 after two straight wins - the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on February 4 and the Count Fleet Stakes in January. Alpha had a disappointing Kentucky Derby finishing twelfth but bounced back with a nice win in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 28 and a win in a dead heat in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes in August 2012 at Saratoga. He hasn't been the same since failing to place in his last six starts including a twelfth in the 2012 Breeders' Cup. He is coming off a sixth in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational after a fourth in the Grade 2 Suburban July 6. John Velazquez will be in the saddle for one of the dark horses in the field.
Race 10 on Saratoga Race Course's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:45 PM.
|1||Ron the Greek||J. Castellano||W. Mott|
|2||Successful Dan||J. Leparoux||C. LoPresti|
|3||Fort Larned||B. Hernandez, Jr.||I. Wilkes|
|4||Flat Out||J. Alvarado||W. Mott|
|5||Paynter||R. Bejarano||B. Baffert|
|6||Mucho Macho Man||E. Prado||K. Ritvo|
|7||Alpha||J. Velazquez||K. McLaughlin|
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