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Woodward Stakes Betting – Can Liam’s Map Cash In?

Posted by on 9/2/2015 11:00:16 PM

The Woodward Stakes is a Grade-1 event for thoroughbreds aged three years and older, and while it started at Aqueduct and Belmont Park, it was moved to Saratoga Springs in 2006. It is run over 1 1/8 miles on dirt and features a purse of $600,000.

This field of eight heads to Saratoga Springs without a real clear-cut favorite, and there should be some solid bets for those to finish in the money. When it comes to the winner, go with Liam's Cap to blaze his way into the winner's circle with the fall portion of the schedule underway.

What : Horse Betting

When : Saturday, September 5th, 2015; post time TBA

Where : Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs, NY

Pick : Liam's Map

Bay Of Plenty is coming off a win at the non-graded Alydar in August, but he also finished ninth at the Grade-1 Met Mile in June. He did look promising in a second-place run at the Grade-3 Discovery Handicap in November, so it's time for this four-year-old to prove he can run with the best of the best.

Coach Inge is one of four Todd Pletcher-trained horses in the field (along with Mylute, Protonico and Liam's Map), and after winning the Grade-2 Brooklyn Handicap in June, he finished third at the Grade-2 Suburban Handicap in July. He has been off since then, so he is rested and it looks like this four-year-old gelding is hitting his stride as he gets older.

Commanding Curve had a solid 2014 which was highlighted by a second at the Kentucky Derby, then after a ninth at the Grade-1Travers Stakes in August, he was held off the track until May, when he won an allowance race. But then he finished seventh at the non-graded West Virginia Governor's in August, so this will be a big test to see how he fares against better competition.

Effinex won the Suburban and might be in line for the Grade-1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in October if he wins or does well here. It was his first graded-stakes win in four tries and this four-year-old colt seems to always be hanging around the front and if you give yourself enough chances, you might end up in the winner's circle.

Liam's Map has finished first or second in each of his six starters, although he needed two tries to break his maiden last year, he won the non-graded Harlan's Holiday in December and then finished second at the Grade-1 Whitney in August, which wasn't bad considering it was his second race of the season and graded-stakes debut. This will be the race in which we see what this four-year-old is made of and there are rumors that Pletcher wants him in the Breeders' Cup Classic, so he'll be watching this horse closely on Saturday.

Mylute came in second to Bay Of Plenty at the Alydar and then fifth at the Suburban, which followed an allowance-race win in his 2015 debut in May after nine months off. This will be his 12th graded-stakes race, but he is still looking for his first win and has finished in the money just three times, although he did come in fifth at the Kentucky Derby in 2013. Can this five-year-old make one more push for a graded-stakes victory? We'll see this weekend.

Protonico won the Grade-2 Alysheba in May and it was his fourth graded-stakes victory in eight starts. This four-year-old is no stranger to big races, but he can be inconsistent as he also has a second-place run fom the Grade-1 Clark Handicap in November, but he has also finished sixth, seventh and ninth in graded-stakes events as well. If good Protonico shows up on Saturday, the field could be in trouble.

Wicked Strong is also experienced as he has started 12 graded-stakes races, and he has two wins from the Grade-1 Wood Memorial and the Grade-2 Jim Dandy last year in his three-year-old campaign; he also finished fourth at the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, and second at the Grade-1 Travels. In five starts this year, he has finished second, third, fourth on two occasions and fifth, and again, he is one of those horses that is always around the front, so if the leaders stumble, Wicked Strong is there to capitalize.

How It Will Play Out

In a field full of solid horses where one really doesn't stand out above the rest, go with Liam's Map, which probably leads the field in top-end speed.


Race Stakes Betting Pick: Liam's End

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