Sunday’s card at Woodbine features a pair of Grade 1 turf races for 2-year-olds. The Summer is the first of the two, and it goes as the seventh race on the program with a field of 11 runners. The winner of this event receives a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, so there’s a lot on the line here.
Such a large field is a great sign for those looking for value, and the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a short-priced favorite in the mix is another plus. I think it’s a really fun race to handicap, and I’m looking forward to firing away at the windows. Let’s take a look!
The Likely Favorite
Even though #6 MYSTIC LANCELOT likely won’t be a prohibitively-short price in here, I think there’s money to be made going against him. He ran well in his debut at Saratoga, where he stalked the pace and pulled away late. However, that was going 5 1/2 furlongs, and this one-mile trek is new ground for him.
Perhaps he’s talented enough to take that step at second asking. However, at his likely price, I can’t endorse him, especially when there’s plenty of talent elsewhere in the starting gate. I’ll try to beat him.
The Morning Glory
I was very impressed by #2 DECORATED INVADER in both of his prior starts. After rallying to finish a close-up second going two turns in his debut, he won as much the best last month at the same distance. Furthermore, he’s been working lights-out at Saratoga since that performance, and all indications are he’ll get a lively pace to run at here.
Decorated Invader is 9/2 on the morning line, and while this is a pretty big jump, there’s a lot to like. Personally, I think he should be favored given his affinity for route distances, and he hits me as a must-use.
The European Invader
One of my favorite angles in racing is when a foreign shipper gets Lasix for the first time. This is the case with #1 VITALOGY, who comes in from Europe for trainer Joseph O’Brien. Vitalogy won on debut at Naas and was an OK fourth in a Group 3 at York, so there’s some talent here. In addition, his 8-1 price is very attractive, and he’ll be on all of my tickets.
The Local Longshot
Perhaps “longshot” is a bit strong, as I think he may drift down from his 10-1 morning line price, but #4 PLEASECALLMEBACK adds blinkers for Hall of Famer Roger Attfield and hasn’t done much wrong to this point. He won on debut over a next-out winner before finishing second in an unlisted stakes race here last month despite a rough start.
Pleasecallmeback stretches out from 6 1/2 furlongs to a mile, but his pedigree says that won’t be a problem. He’s by Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun and out of the mare Dixie Chicken, which makes him a half-brother to stakes-winning router Dixie Moon. Patrick Husbands rides back, and I think this one has got a big shot.
How I’ll Bet It
I’m going to keep this pretty simple and box my top three horses in exactas. With the big field signed on, these could pay pretty well, especially since I’m throwing out the 3-1 morning line favorite.