Friday, September 16, 2016

Handicapper's Corner: Woodbine Mile (G1)

2016 Woodbine Mile - Tenpin No Lock

By: The Turk

Woodbine's Long Stretch on Turf
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk, a horse racing blog that has been providing handicapping advice since 2008.

Before I go to far, I'd like to stop and thank the fine people of The Thorofan and the The Thorofan Handicappers Corner for allowing me to share my thoughts with you about Saturday's Woodbine Mile.

As a horse racing fan first and foremost I get excited looking at the Past Performances of this quality.  This is a race that always attracts top quality turf horses, ideally spaced 7 weeks  before Breeders' Cup weekend.  After spending some time with the numbers it was apparent to me that Tepin is the class of this race but...The "but" for me is Tepin may go to the post wildly overbet, her first race back after a trip to the UK, carrying the heaviest weight of the race,  and by my count there are at least five horses that could come up and win at long and longer prices.  This is a fan's race and a degenerate gamblers race all mixed together.

 Let's take some time to look at the field in action.  The first video isn't relevant for anything other than to familiarize yourself with the race over this immaculate turf course with its long stretch. Tower of Texas and Mr Owen were well back of the impressive Mondialiste.  

Tower of Texas and Full Mast (the race chalk) fall to Dimension (GB) in July at WO at 1 mile.

A month later, and one panel less, Tower of Texas and  Passion for Action chase the local claimer, Glenville Gardens.  What a nice claim from Ottawa Senator's owner Melnyk by the Attard's.

The 5 YO gelded son of Sea the Stars (Ire), Mutakayyef (GB), in the 1 5/16 LH Juddmonte G1.

Bill Mott's Full Mast  in the 1 1/16 Lure Stakes at SAR.  Trainer Mott is one of the best at picking his spots in the conditions book.  

Passion for Action winning at 6f in the Grade 2 Highlander at WO in July.

So, I'll say it, Tepin is  special.  Seven straight wins, 13 of 15 in the money on turf with 10 wins, 7 of 7 in the money at the distance with 6 wins, 16 of 20 in the money lifetime.  The race's lone mare has excellent connections, a top shelf Trainer in Mark Casse and one of the best turf pilots in the game in Leparoux, up.  She's coming into this race after completing a tough journey to the UK.

Training at SAR for six weeks with two sizzling 5f bullets, is she ready to resume her dominance is the only question left.

My base handicap is just that, an all things equal, fair surface ranking of Class, current Condition, and ultimately the horse's range of finishes.  The bet construction sometimes mirrors the Base Handicap but I do deviate  when i'm looking for a price.  In my last posting for the Handicapper's Corner I handicapped a similar situation with The Woodward at SAR.  My alternative strategy of betting that Frosted would Place instead of Win netted well over $350 for me on a pretty cheap $2 Tri.  I'd love Tepin to win as a horse racing fan, but I'm betting adult money and the adult thing to do is to take a stack of $20's and make the stack bigger and not smaller.

If I have more or less settled on a contrarian view that Tepin won't win, who will?  As a handicapper I'm less concerned with who and more interested in establishing how many are possible.  If I have the right number in the win spot I'll process it as a fan after I count the winnings and record the ROI.

Full Mast is interesting to me.  Trainer Mott brought the 4 YO here in July where he put on a game effort.  He brought him back which should suggest he liked his late turn of foot over the course.  No wins in 3 attempts at the distance, 6 of 8 lifetime in the money, 5 of 7 in the money lifetime on turf, comes in with Rosario up again off a minor stake at SAR in the Lure Stakes (above). Will his late turn be enough to catch Tepin?  

Mutakayyef (GB) is a solid stakes runner in the UK, not grade 1 but solid. 2 wins and a game Show in the Grade 1 Juddmonte International in mid August.  I'm thinking he's in the money in this field unless he really didn't travel well.

Passion for Action is a local who has ran 9 times over the WO turf winning 3 and Placing 3.   No wins at the distance but he was really flying at 6f in July here in the Grade 2 Highlander.  This is 2nd off 45-180 layoff, a jump that Trainer DePaulo wins 18% of the time.  Sure this is the deep end of the pool but that's why its called gambling.

 Glenville Gardens is a really nice Woobine story after being claimed last September.  six wins in last 9 starts and three straight including the Grade 2 Play King at 7f here at WO in late August.  

Mr Owen and Arod (Ire) will go off at better odds than most of the others I mentioned.  Mr. Owen ran here determinedly last year in the Woodbine Mile over yielding turf.  I'm not sure this is his race at this time based on how he's running and how the pacing should unfold.  Arod (Ire)  goes on Lasix for the first time and the 5 year old has not had a very good 2016 at all, winless in four starts.  His last start at 1 mile was a Show finish and a better effort.

At my own peril I'm tossing Roger Attfield's Tower of Texas.  You can't cover everyone and I could have easily made the case for him over Glenville Gardens or Passion for Action.  Tower of Texas is winless in 2016, only one win in 7 starts on turf and one win in 7 starts on WO turf.  He's coming late so possibly include him Show spot.

What to do?  I'm going to play with something like this:

5-2-6-4-3 OVER 8 OVER 5-2-6-4-3, a $2 bet for $40.

I don't know if this is my final incarnation of this bet but you get the idea of what I'm trying to do.

 If you want safe go 8 OVER 5-2-6-4-1 for a $2 exact that costs $10.  Maybe only include the >15-1 horses.

Whatever you do, have fun with it!  Turk Out.

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