Key Races & Bets for Saturday, September 14

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Canadian Stakes -Race 7 at Woodbine-Post Time 4:30 Eastern

Magnetic Charm is a lightly raced three year old filly, the only three year old in the seven horse field. She faced older for the first time in a stakes race at Ascot at the end of July and finished third as the odds on favorite. Prior to that she ran huge when beaten a neck in a 27 horse field at Royal Ascot in June and prior to that she won by a neck in an 11 horse field in a stakes, that win following eight months on the bench and her ONLY start on a left handed course. Those three efforts this year show what she’s made of and trainer William Haggas doesn’t ship to North America unless he has the goods. He’s only shipped five horses in the last few years, including Call to Mind, who won the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational last year for Her Majesty The Queen, who also owns this filly. Haggas also shipped Awesometank (who is running in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile later on the day) to finish second in the Beverly D. Stakes. In short, I don’t think Magnetic Charm was brought over to keep her stablemate company and is a legitimate contender to win this race and to post the mild upset, opening at 8 to 1.

Starship Jubilee won this race last year at 11/1 following a win five weeks earlier over the course. She won the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf this past winter at Gulfstream as she had in 2018 and although winless in three since, they have all been solid efforts as she finished third (beaten three-quarters of a length), second and third (beaten a half-length). Those three all came after four months off so she’s certainly not over raced. Best of all, she’s reunited with Contreras, up for last year’s win, and she put in a very sharp half-mile work on grass one week ago so certainly could repeat as the winner of this race.

Touriga was coming back from nine months off on 7/20, and making her U.S. debut, when third of three in the weather delayed Matchmaker Stakes on that 100 degree day at Monmouth. It wasn’t really a race in a normal respect but I think she got a lot out of it and for Graham Motion to enter her in this grade 2 off that race tells me she is rounding back to the kind of top form which saw her win a group 1 and a group 2 race in her native Brazil last year, both on turf. The favorites in this race are a bit suspect so opening at 6/1 she offers value as well.

As to one of those favorites, second morning line (5/2) favorite Holy Helena, she’s okay but no standout. She won the similar G2 Dance Smartly Stakes when last seen on June 29 at 10 furlongs and she’s won a pair of stakes at 1 3/16 miles so this nine furlong trip should suit her. The 103 figure earned in the Dance Smartly was the same as when winning the Very One Stakes in March and it’s good, but to be fair and to put it in perspective, Touriga earned a pair of identical figures in her wins in Brazil, Magnetic Charm earned three 98 figures in her last three races which can be improved upon as she’s just three years old, and Starship Jubilee earned 100 and 101 figures in all three races this year. As such, Holy Helena is just as likely, not any more so, to win than many of the others here.

On the other hand, Competition of Ideas is MUCH LESS likely to win than is suggested by her 8/5 staring odds, but I sure hope the public bets her heavily. She won three of seven races last year including the American Oaks, but that was in December and it was restricted to three year olds. She’s winless in four since, with NO excuses, although beaten a neck in two of those races. The only reason the morning linemaker made her such short odds is she’s trained by Brown, but with the filly having a 3-4-3 record I’ll be happy to take a stand against her except for some exotic wagers.

Win bets: Magnetic Charm to win at 3 to 1 or more, Starship Jubilee if 3 to 1 or higher.
A smaller win bet on Touriga at 4 to 1 or more is acceptable 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.

Exactas: Magnetic Charm over Touriga, Holy Helena, Competition of Ideas and Starship Jubilee.
Starship Jubilee over Magnetic Charm, Touriga, Holy Helena and Competition of Ideas.
Touriga over Magnetic Charm, Holy Helena, Competition of Ideas and Starship Jubilee.

Ricoh Woodbine Mile – Race 9 at Woodbine – Post Time 5:42 Eastern

As impressive as Got Stormy was beating males in the Fourstardave Handicap last month at Saratoga, Synchrony was equally impressive when winning the King Edward Stakes at Woodbine in late June. Synchrony earned a 109 Equibase figure in that race, not nearly the 114 career-best earned winning the Red Bank Stakes last summer at the distance of the Woodbine Mile, but the manner in which he won suggests he hasn’t yet run his best race this year. Lagging back in seventh of eight with a quarter mile to go, Synchrony wheeled out while losing a lot of ground and made up four lengths in less than an eighth of a mile to win in “ridden out” fashion. He had shipped up from trainer Stidham’s base at the Fair Hills training center in Maryland for the race and right after that he returned to that location, putting in a series of strong workouts including a “bullet” best of the day workout seven days ago. Now he’s shipping in again and it’s a winning pattern. Synchrony should get a strong pace to run at once again as it appears both Admiralty Pier and American Guru will have to show early speed from outside posts to get good inside position going into the first turn. As a multiple grade two stakes winner and likely to fire a big shot fresh off a two and one-half month layoff as he did in February when winning the Fair Grounds Handicap, Synchrony could be moving fastest of all in the final stages to win this year’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile.

Got Stormy has run the two best races of her career in her two most recent starts. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as she’s still a maturing four year old. Returning from two months off on August 3, Got Stormy won the De La Rose Stakes with a 110 figure, bettering that seven days later with a 118 figure earned in the Fourstardave Handicap. In that race, Got Stormy was 14 lengths back early off a very strong pace and when asked to pick up the tempo she responded very well to draw off by two and one-half lengths at the end. Like Synchrony and unlike some of the other entrants in this race, Got Stormy has familiarity with the Woodbine Turf, having captured the Ontario Colleen Stakes last July in her only previous start on this track. Just the same, trainer Mark Casse is taking no chances, so he gave the filly a strong half-mile workout on the course just one week ago to ensure she is ready to run her best in this race. With her seven career wins at this mile turf trip the best in the field by far, Got Stormy has every right to win her second grade one stakes in a row.

Although I feel Synchrony and Got Stormy are a cut above the rest, there are a few others I would consider as contenders in the race, particularly for exacta wagers. Silent Poet earned a career-best 112 figure when winning the Play the King Stakes at seven furlongs on the course last month. The Woodbine Mile is a one turn race as well and the horse is making his third start off a seven month layoff so he has potential to improve. Lucullan is also making his third start off a layoff and won his two most recent races, including a 113 figure effort in his comeback race in July. The competition he faced in the Lure Stakes last month wasn’t nearly as tough as he faces in this race but having won five of nine career races on grass he’s shown a lot of competitive spirit to date which can’t be taken for granted. Raging Bull (FR) was four lengths behind Got Stormy in the Fourstardave when he began his rally and two and one-half back at the finish. He won the Hollywood Derby last December but is winless in four races since then. However, he could be passing many of these in the stretch.

Win Bets: Synchrony and Got Stormy to win at odds of 2/1 or more, noting it’s unlikely Got Stormy will make those minimum odds for a win bet. IF Got Stormy goes to post at less than those odds, play an additional exacta as noted below instead of a win bet.

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.

Exactas: Synchrony and Got Stormy over Synchrony, Got Stormy, Silent Poet, Lucullan and Raging Bull.
The exacta as a win bet (if Got Stormy is less than 2/1) is Got Stormy over Synchrony, Silent Poet, Lucullan and Raging Bull.

Exacta box: Synchrony, Got Stormy, Silent Poet, Lucullan and Raging Bull.

Trifecta: Box Synchrony, Got Stormy, Silent Poet, Lucullan and Raging Bull.

Pebbles Stakes – Race 10 at Belmont – Post Time 5:57 Eastern

I am completely taking a stand against East, the likely second or third betting choice near post time. She finished second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf but that was a year ago and her last two races, in May then two months later in July, weren’t much. Yes, I know she’s dropping from group 1 to this non-graded stakes level but not only could she need a race but her form is far different to that before the Breeders’ Cup where she had won a group 3 stakes as this time she ran really badly. There’s also a question of how Blowout deserves to be the 2/1 favorite, although the case can be made that when Chad Brown’s name appears, horses are always a point lower than they should be. She has a 2-3-1 record in six races and since she lost two of those by narrow margins a case can be made she could have five wins, BUT a case can also be made she could still have just two wins BECAUSE she had absolutely NO excuse for losing last out in the Lake Placid after leading through a pokey half-mile and six furlongs and she lost ground in the stretch in the Lake George before that.

The fact Blowout is suspect, although she could easily be part of the exacta, means we have to very playable horses in Eyeinthesky and Feel Glorious, the former much more preferred. Eyeinthesky has won three of eight this year, two of those stakes like this one. Although she hasn’t won past six furlongs, the fact is she’s only run farther three times on turf and I can make the case all three are irrelevant here and MORE IMPORTANTLY she’s a different filly now after two big efforts at Saratoga. She’s bred for the mile and her and 95 figure efforts in her last two starts are ABSOLUTELY as good as the 99 and 98 efforts Blowout put forth in her last two races, yet Eyeinthesky opens at three times the odds (6/1).

Feel Glorious ran very well when coming to the U.S. this winter, with two wins and a runner-up effort, the latter in a grade 3 stakes. She tailed off to finish fourth behind Blowout in a stakes in June then sixth in the Lake Placid, but was only two lengths behind favorite Blowout in that race. Since then she put in a strong half-mile workout, likely in company with East as they both worked the same distance on the same day, and there’s more than a decent shot Feel Glorious can rebound to her form of just a few months ago at a price.

Win bets: Eyeinthesky to win at odds of 5/2 or more.
For a smaller amount, Feel Glorious to win at odds of 4/1 or higher.

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.

Exactas: Eyeinthesky and Feel Glorious over Eyeinthesky, Feel Glorious, Blowout and Seek and Destroy (the other Brown trainee).

Woodbine Cares Stakes – Race 11 at Woodbine – Post Time 6:49 Eastern

Capping off a fantastic pair of racing days at Woodbine, this five furlong sprint stakes for two year olds is very interesting. Even with a few scratches, there are enough lightly raced horses who have ONLY shown a need-the-lead style to toss them all out as contenders and land on the four which are left. Those four are Miss Lucy, Foolish Humor, Quality Heat and Lady Fatima.

Perhaps unfortunately, the first pair of Miss Lucy and Foolish Humor call the barn of top trainer Ward home and may go off as the favorites. Ward won another two year olds stakes last weekend and continues to hum along at nearly a 30% clip in these types of races and both his fillies have shown a lot of talent. Miss Lucy rallied from mid-pack to get up with 50 yards to go in her last start, in England, has been working fantastically for her U.S. debut at Keeneland, adds Lasix and gets Irad Ortiz, Jr. to ride. Foolish Humor won a turf sprint at this trip at Belmont in May and recently finished second in the Colleen Stakes but was placed first after being bumped hard at the eighth pole. Miss Lucy looks like the fastest of the pair with a field high 94 last race Equibase figure but I’m confident both can run and if both go they could run first and second.

Quality Heat won in her second career start, first on turf, at seven furlongs here at Woodbine last month, surging late after stalking the pacesetter for the first six furlongs. She has improving to do off a 77 figure effort and is a half-brother to stakes winner Frank Conversation, who won in his turf debut and then won the El Camino Real Derby shortly thereafter. Lady Fatima is one for three but that win came in her only turf start, in May, and it was a fine effort when she made up five lengths from the halfway mark to win. She’s in the Casse barn and must be respected.

Bets: Miss Lucy and Foolish Humor to win at 2 to 1 or more. If one should scratch, the other has minimum odds of 3 to 2.

Exacta and Trifecta: Box Quality Heat, Lady Fatima, Miss Lucy and Foolish Humor.

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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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