Las Vegas, NV - Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York will play host to the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes on Saturday, September 5. Horses three years old and upward will take to Saratoga's main track and go 1 1/8 miles searching for the winner's share of the generous $600,000 purse.
Eight older entries have been confirmed for the Woodward Stakes - race 10 on Saratoga's Saturday card. Post time is 5:47 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all eight entries for this Grade 1 stakes.
Liam's Map 6-5 - has just six career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher - four wins and two second place finishes. He made his graded stakes debut August 8 and finished a good second with a career and field-best Beyer Speed Figure of 113 in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes on this track. That result followed three straight wins - an Allowance Optional Claiming June 19, the minor Harlan's Holiday Stakes in December and an Allowance in November. Liam' Map has looked very good so far in his career and hopes to keep that trend going Saturday. Javier Castellano gets the call aboard the morning line favorite from gate 2.
Effinex 4-1 - has four starts this year for trainer James Jerkins - three wins and a DNF two starts back in the Brooklyn Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park in June. The wins include the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park July 4, the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct in April and an Allowance Optional Claiming in March. He has six wins, a second and two third place finishes in 16 career starts and enters in terrific form and having win three of his last four starts overall. Junior Alvarado has been tabbed to ride the morning line second choice and to keep the impressive roll going - from post 7.
Wicked Strong 5-1 - returned to action after six months away and finished a close fourth in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap March 7 and followed that with a third in the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct April 25, a fifth in the Grade 1 Met Mile in June, a second in the minor Forbidden Apple Stakes July 11 and a fourth last time out on this track in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes August 8. He recorded a second to in the 2014 Travers Stakes and a good win over Tonalist in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy July 26, 2014. He also had consecutive fourth place finishes in last year's Triple Crown races - in the Belmont Stakes and in the Kentucky Derby and posted an eye-opening win - in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 5. Wicked Strong has 16 career starts with three wins, three seconds and two third place finishes and has been a tad up and down lately. He will be after his first win in over a year Saturday when he lines up from the rail with Luis Saez in the reins.
Coach Inge 6-1 - Todd Pletcher trained gelding has 11 career starts with four wins, two seconds and two third place finishes. He failed to place in his first three career starts but has looked very good since. Last time out was a third behind Effinex in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap July 4 which followed a pair of wins - the best of which coming in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational with a 102 Beyer Speed Figure June 6. He has placed in his last eight starts overall with four wins over that span, has Beyer Speed Figures over 100 in his last three starts and looks for his first Grade 1 score Saturday. John Velazquez has the mount from gate 6.
Bay of Plenty 10-1 - Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt has placed in seven of nine career starts - five wins and two second place finishes. He enters off a nice win in the minor Alyday Stakes here August 9 which followed a ninth in the Grade 1 Met Mile at Belmont Park in June and an Allowance Optional Claiming score April 29. He also had a second in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct in November. Bay of Plenty has won five of his last seven starts overall and looks for his first graded stakes score this weekend. Joel Rosario gets the call from gate 4 Saturday.
Protonico 12-1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has 11 career starts with six wins, a second and has been very good the last 10 months. He enters on a two race win streak - the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes last time out - May 1 at Churchill Downs and by five lengths in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes in April. They followed an uncharacteristic DNF in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap in February, a second behind Hoppertunity in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap November 28 and another win in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap November 1. He also won the Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx last September. Protonico has three wins and a second place finish in his last five starts and could be a factor Saturday. Jose Ortiz rides from the outside gate 8.
Mylute 15-1 - Todd Pletcher pupil has four wins, four seconds and four third place finishes in 20 career starts but will be after his first graded stakes score Saturday. He enters off a second in the minor Alydar Stakes on this track August 9, a fifth in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap July 6 (he finished sixth in that race in 2014) and an Allowance Optional Claiming score in May. He did finish third in the 2013 Preakness and a fifth in that year's Kentucky Derby but has been inconsistent since. Meet leading rider Irad Ortiz will be in the saddle from post 5 Saturday hoping to change all of that.
Commanding Curve 30-1 - Dallas Stewart trainee has two wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in 12 career starts and was last seen running seventh in the minor West Virginia Governor's Stakes at Mountaineer August 1. That followed an Allowance score in his only other start of 2015. Commanding Curve ended 2014 with a ninth in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes here in August, an OK fourth in the competitive Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes, a ninth in the Preakness Stakes June 7, a very good second to California Chrome in the 2014 Kentucky Derby at 37-1 odds. He hasn't looked good since his runner-up finish in the Derby, placing in just one of five starts but jockey Shaun Bridgmohan hopes to change all that from post 3.
Race 10 on Saratoga Race Course's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:47 PM.
||Bay of Plenty
||I. Ortiz, Jr.