By Bob Ehalt
As fall draws ever closer, Saturday’s racing spotlight will serve as a reminder of the chilly days ahead.
Saturday’s top stakes will be north of the border in Canada as Woodbine offers the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and three other graded turf stakes during a stellar 13-race card.
The $800,000 Woodbine Mile features a heavy dose of European flavor as the 5-2 favorite is Deauville, a European who was fourth in the Arlington Million in his last start. Third in a couple of Group 1 stakes in England and Ireland earlier in the year, he won the Grade 1 Belmont Derby a year ago at Belmont Park.
The mile distance, however, might not help his cause. He’s coming off a mile and a quarter race and is winless in three starts at Saturday’s eight-furlong distance.
Other threats include Europeans Mondialiste (8-1), Lancaster Bomber (9-2) and Dutch Connection (6-1), as well Arod (20-1), from Australia, not the Bronx.
The U.S. contingent features World Approval (7-2), who will be well-suited by the distance. In his last start, he captured the Grade 1 Fourstardave at a mile over Saratoga’s inner turf course for trainer Mark Casse.
Also traveling north is Long On Value (15-1) from trainer Bill Mott’s barn.
The home team has a couple of threats in the Woodbine-based Conquest Panthera (12-1), Tower of Texas (12-1) and Glenville Gardens (20-1), all of whom should benefit from races over the course.
The card will include another Grade 1 stakes in the $300,000 Northern Dancer at a mile and a half, which has a heavy favorite in Hawkbill. The Godolphin-owned 4-year-old was a Group 2 winner at Newmarket in England back in July and is listed as an odds-on 3-5 choice in the morning line.
The Woodbine stakes take on added importance as three of them will be part of a special Pick 5 linking them with two races at Belmont Park.
The wager begins with the Grade 2 Canadian at Woodbine (race eight, 4:29 p.m.) and continues with the seventh race at Belmont Park, the Northern Dancer, Sands Point Stakes at Belmont and the Woodbine Mile.
Making the wager inviting for players with a limited bankroll, the minimum bet is just 20 cents.
Winners offers $2,000 Woodbine Challenge
Winners customers will have added incentive to focus on Saturday’s Woodbine card as it will serve as the basis for the $2,000 Woodbine Challenge, a handicapping contest involving win, place and show wagers on the Woodbine card.
The buy-in is $50, with payoffs to the top five contestants based on their winnings. First prize is $1,300.
For more information, visit: https://www.mywinners.com/woodbine-challenge/
Rewards for Woodbine, Belmont Park wagers
The Woodbine and Belmont cards will be focus of my Twitter Takeover at @MyWinnersCT on Saturday afternoon, so follow along if you’re looking for picks and results.
Winners’ Saturday rewards will be 4 times the normal rewards points for wagers on the Woodbine card and up to $30 for hitting the early and late double at Belmont Park. Handicappers who hit either the early or late double at Belmont with an online or mobile wager will get a $15 reward while those who hit both doubles will get $30.
We gave out both doubles at Belmont on Twitter last Saturday, paying $73.50 and $149, and hopefully we’ll continue that hot streak on Saturday.