Woodbine and Monmouth Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, July 18, 2020

Trillium Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine – Post Time 4:55 PM Eastern

Painting is on the verge of her first stakes win in this situation, having put in a fantastic prep on 6/21 when coming back from seven months off. That effort came in the similar (except for the distance) Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes, in which she rallied from eighth of 10 to get second, beaten a length. She was 13 to 1 then but still opens at 6 to 1 here in spite of having earned the best last race Equibase Speed Figure (101) in the field. She was second in the Grade 2 Bessarabian Stakes (at seven furlongs) before the layoff so the only question is whether she can handle two turns, and that is easily answered looking at her pedigree as she’s by Distorted Humor out of an A.P. Indy mare who has produced all-weather route winners.

Another Time opens as the 2 to 1 favorite on the strength of a runner-up finish (beaten a neck) in the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes last month, at a mile on turf. She won her comeback around two turns on grass in an allowance race before that and fits on class, as well as has won on the main track, but she’s yet to have run on the main track around two turns. She’s ALSO entered in the next race (9), the Royal North, so may not run here.

Art of Almost has been first or second in 6 of 13 races including a win around two turns on grass last month, and she won two races routing on the main track last year. Wilson rode her for the first time last out and she battled gamely head and head the entire length of the stretch, then was flattered when the third horse came back to win, more signs she can hold her form and have a big say in the outcome.

If Another Time opts for the Royal North, we’ll use Amalfi Coast as she closed for fourth in the same race Another Time finished second in and makes her third start off a layoff. She won a pair of Ontario bred restricted stakes on grass last summer and fall and has run well on the main track too.

Win: Painting is a key bet to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

Exactas: Box Painting, Another Time, Art of Almost
“IF” Another Time does not run, then the exacta box is Painting, Art of Almost, Amalfi Coast

Doubles: (These tickets may cost less than it appears because Another Time will run in only one of the two races she’s entered in)
Race 8: Painting, Another Time, Art of Almost, Amalfi Coast
Race 9: Summer Sunday, Another Time, Sister Peacock, Lady Grace

Race 8: Painting
Race 9: Summer Sunday, Another Time, Sister Peacock, Lady Grace

Race 8: Painting, Another Time, Art of Almost, Amalfi Coast
Race 9: Lady Grace


Royal North Stakes – Race 9 at Woodbine – Post Time 5:28 PM Eastern

Lady Grace won at this six furlong turf trip very easily three weeks ago and put together back-to-back wins in turf sprints at Gulfstream Park this winter. She continues to get better as a four year old, can win on the lead or from off the pace, and Kimura stays with her for the strong Casse barn so opening at 6/1 she’s a great play.

Another Time is a contender for all the reasons stated in my analysis of her chances in race 9. She won two two-turn races in a row and she’s won sprinting so fits no matter which race trainer Minshall chooses.

Summer Sunday opens at 3/1 because she likes to win, with a 7 for 12 record. HOWEVER, she’s earned six of those wins on the main track. She’s 1 for 1 on turf, that win coming in THIS RACE last year, which she led from start to finish. She can sit just off the pace but with Sister Peacock, a need-the-lead type, in the race she may have to take a stalking position otherwise she’ll be vulnerable to the closers.

Win Bet: Lady Grace to win at 2 to 1 or higher.

Box Lady Grace, Another Time and Summer Sunday
“If” Another Time opts for the eighth race, the exact box is Lady Grace, Summer Sunday and Sister Peacock

Box Lady Grace, Another Time, Summer Sunday and Sister Peacock


Wolf Hill Stakes – Race 13 at Monmouth – Post Time 6:20 PM Eastern

This race follows the Haskell, which is the Equibase Race of the Week. Simply put the contenders are Dr Post and Authentic but they are the favorites. I will use Ancient Warrior on some double and pick 3 tickets as well but the race didn’t need to be a part of this blog because it’s very predictable.

In the Wolf Hill Stakes, there are two contenders to win – American Sailor and Archidust, and a suspect favorite at low odds in Shekky Shebaz we should use on pick 3 and double tickets from the Haskell and to the next race.

American Sailor LOVES to win races. He has a 14 for 43 record and won his comeback last month after seven months off as an eight year old who loves sprinting on grass. When allowed the early lead, as he should be here lest any horse wants to compromise their own chances, he’s tough as nails and he fits on figures as well, having finished second or third in two stakes on grass in late 2018 and 2019 before finding a home in the starter allowance ranks on the Maryland circuit. Of the two contenders to win he’s the better play opening at 5/1 but I could easily be persuaded to bet Archidust to win as well.

Archidust is one of the horses who left the barn of Navarro when that trainer was indicted earlier this year. He won five of 12 including 2 of 4 on grass. He won a pair of stakes last summer, one of them identical to this over the track (the My Frenchman) in July and he fires big off layoffs. He’s now in the Asmussen barn and should be right there particularly if American Sailor goes a bit too fast early.

Shekky Shebaz is another horse who changed trainers after the indictments, form Servis to Clement. He’s been off four months and has a fine record of 6-5-3 in 20 races, including a 3 for 7 record in turf sprints. He won a stakes in December at the trip and last summer at Saratoga and put in a big four furlong turf workout in June in preparation for his comeback but compared to the to the other two, the first having just won last month and the other having proven to fire big off a layoff, and considering he opens at 5/2, I’m just going to use him in the exacta.

Win bet: American Sailor to win at 2 to 1 or more.
“IF” Archidust is anywhere near 2 to 1 near post time, he can be bet to win as well.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Box American Sailor, Archidust and Shekky Shebaz


Molly Pitcher Stakes – Race 14 at Monmouth – Post Time 6:51 PM Eastern

Royal Flag looks very strong here and although it is possible she’s going to be bet down from her 3/1 starting odds it may hold up. After a third place sprint debut effort last summer, she’s won three in a row, moving right through the maiden, first allowance and second allowance level. Her win in February by nine lengths at Gulfstream was visually impressive and she may have become a bit tired last time out on 5/31 at Churchill when only winning by a half-length after opening up by two but she will be much stronger here. If she’s overbet as is often the case with Brown starters she’s still a key in the exacta and trifecta. Lopez rides and when he gets on for Brown shippers he’s 5 for 11 over the past couple of years. Brown also knows when to go from allowance to stakes off a win, with a very strong record of 13 wins and 13 seconds from 52 starters going back five years.

Gotham Gala should NOT be 12/1 and I hope she helps us to make a profit even if the top pick is the heavy favorite She ran absolutely horrible when seventh of eight in the Obeah Stakes last month but she had been off for seven and one-half month. She was up close in second early and tired badly but she’s done that before, like last year before winning the 2019 Obeah and before missing by a nose in the Lady Jacqueline stakes last August. The fact Centeno climbs on is significant, as is the addition of blinkers, which may mean the plan is to send her to the lead where she could prove quite elusive.

She’s a Julie opens as the 5/2 favorite off a win in the G1 Phipps Stakes last month and the drop to this grade 3 level. She’s only put wins back-to-back once in the past couple of years, when winning the Bayakoa in February 2019 then the La Troienne, but there was a two and one-half month gap between the two races, not five weeks as she’s coming back from today. Nevertheless if she repeats that last effort with a 106 figure she’s going to be right there with Royal Flag (107 best) and Gotham Gal (104 best).

For some exactas and trifectas I’m going to throw in Vault and Horologist. Vault finished second in the Obeah last month and is trained by Cox while Horologist makes her first start since moving to the Mott barn and won the Monmouth Oaks last August at this trip over the track.

Win bets: Royal Flag to win at odds of 9 to 5.
For a smaller amount, Gotham Gala to win at 3 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

If you use a dutching tool like the free one at Amwager, you will automatically be betting a smaller amount on Gotham Gala because the bets will be proportioned based on the odds.

She’s a Julie, Royal Flag and Gotham Gala over She’s a Julie, Royal Flag, Gotham Gala, Vault and Horologist.
She’s a Julie, Royal Flag, Gotham Gala, Vault and Horologist over She’s a Julie, Royal Flag and Gotham Gala.

Royal Flag over She’s a Julie, Gotham Gala, Vault and Horologist over She’s a Julie, Gotham Gala, Vault and Horologist
She’s a Julie, Gotham Gala, Vault and Horologist over Royal Flag over She’s a Julie, Gotham Gala, Vault and Horologist


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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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