Woodbine Picks ft. Autumn Stakes – November 14

On Sunday, November 14 at Woodbine features some exciting racing including the Grade II Autumn Stakes. I break them down along with Saturday’s Bessarabian and Maple Leaf Stakes also taking place at Woodbine on the podcast and give you my Win, Place, and Show predictions. Additionally, play along at StableDuel where you can enter contests and win big. How? Download the StableDuel app and then pick 10 horses with your $50,000 fantasy budget. If your stable comes out on top, you’re a winner! In addition to picking the winners below, I’ll also include the “price” in the StableDuel contest.

Race 1

Post time: 12:55 PM ET

Distance: 7 furlongs

Type: $25,000 Maiden Optional Claiming

Age: 3-years-old and up

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: We’ll kick things off with a race that will crown a first-time winner once it’s all said and done. The morning line favorite Hullabaloo (5-2) is the obvious pick and you’re not getting bad odds on him considering that he’s trending in the right direction and working out nicely. His last race, a second-place finish, did come after the race was taken off the turf, so sometimes that can be misleading when you’re racing against turf horses on a different surface. Still, his speed figures are solid and should certainly be a factor. I don’t see a lot of love with Valhalla Air Base (7-2) or Expo (4-1) as the former has never finished better than seventh while the latter is regressing after a second-place finish four races ago. Instead, I’d look to Arquebus (6-1) and Mad Dog N Joe (8-1) as horses that have had some nice recent workouts and have shown the ability to at least get close to hitting the board, which is better than most horses in the field.  

Win: Hullabloo ($8,500)

Place: Mad Dog N Joe ($3,000)

Show: Arquebus ($5,000)

Race 2

Post time: 1:25 PM ET

Distance: 6 ½ furlongs

Type: $40,000Maiden Optional Claiming

Age: 3-years-old and up 

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: Our second maiden optional claiming race offers a strong field and some intriguing value. Money Printer (2-1) has run well at the Maiden Special Weight level and is dropping down in class a bit. Additionally, he’s consistent with both his speed figures, workouts, and his place of finish. Blue Max (9-2) and Magic Spin (4-1) have similar profiles as horses that have been consistent at hitting the board at this level but have not managed to break through to the winner’s circle. That can be discouraging from a better standpoint because sometimes horses enjoy running with horses rather than running past them. To that point, from a value perspective, I’d look at Silver Smoke (8-1) as a horse that will likely jump to the early lead and enjoys running in front. He may get nabbed at the finish, but for the price, I like him to hit the board. You may also want to take a second look at Black Sun (12-1) as a horse who ran a nice maiden and then had a four-month layoff. The most recent workout looked good and there might be something there. More than anything, that’s a horse I’m going to keep my eye on after this race to see how he comes out of it.

Win: Money Printer ($9,000)

Place: Silver Smoke ($3,000)

Show: Blue Max ($6,500)

Race 3

Post time: 1:54 PM ET

Distance: 6 furlongs

Type: $32,000 Claiming

Age: 3-years-old and up

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: The morning line favorite, Ikerrin Road (2-1) has not won a race in three years, so I’d look elsewhere for both value and for the eventual winner. Marten River (3-1) is the third favorite and likes to flash early speed and try to wire the field, which is something he’s done before at this distance, and he’s got a decent record on synthetic. Forest Survivor (6-1) is going to press him for early speed. If they get locked into a speed duel then it could compromise them both, especially Forest Survivor who is maxing out his preferred distance in this race. A horse I’d take a swing on is Forester’s Turn (20-1) as a horse whose problem seems to be that his connections insist on running him on turf. When he’s off turf, he typically hit the board and sometimes even wins. He’s 6-9 hitting the board on synthetic and 5-5 hitting the board at this distance. I like that combination for his value. Wheat King (20-1) is another long shot who I like to potentially hit the board as he’s won three of five races this year. His last two efforts have been poor but if Marten River and Forest Survivor push the pace too much, he could clean up the pieces down the stretch to hit the board. We didn’t talk much about Reconfigure (5-2) as a horse that’s had some strong performances but is sometimes less than impressive on synthetic. He is a versatile horse who will probably sit behind the early speed in an ideal position, so I like the trip he is likely to get even if I don’t love his rail post position.

Win: Reconfigure ($8,500)

Place: Forester’s Turn ($250)

Show: Marten River ($8,000)

Race 4

Post time: 2:23 PM ET

Distance: 7 furlongs

Type: $10,000 Claiming

Age: 3-years-old and up

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: We move onto a massive 14-horse field, which on the morning line odds, have a very clear top tier in Tycoon (3-1) and Beyond My Dreams (4-1). However, neither horse is overwhelming even though I think both are formidable. The issue with Tycoon is that he’s awful at breaking from the gate and in this large of a field that could spell big trouble as he could get shuffled back. He’s managed to go from 12th to 2nd before, but he’s also had races where he’s gone from 12th to 11th, so it’s a dicey proposition. Beyond My Dreams, on the other hand, hasn’t finished better than fourth since breaking his maiden at the $25,000 claiming level. This is a step-down, so you’d hope to see better results but we’re not sure how he’s emerged from his last race two weeks ago since he’s not worked out since then. Otherwise, this is a wide-open race where beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I like Frac Attack (10-1) to hit the board as he’s worked out nicely after a game fourth-place finish last time out. Quantum Velocity (15-1) is cutting back in distance and has posted some nice workouts recently making me think he’ll flash some early speed. Orphan Hallie (6-1) is probably a safer bet to hit the board than others based on his past performance at this distance which has seen him hit the board both times.

Win: Beyond My Dreams ($7,000)

Place: Orphan Hallie ($5,000)

Show: Frac Attack ($1,000)

Race 5

Post time: 2:56 PM ET

Distance: 5 ½ furlongs

Type: Maiden Special Weight $126,800 purse

Age: 2-years-old

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: Mentoring (5-2) is the appropriate morning-line favorite. After hitting the board in each of his first three-race, he stepped up in distance and competition to run on a yielding turf and the results left a lot to be desired. However, he’s back to sprints on synthetic so it’s hard to see him not hitting the board, and likely winning, against this field. Duke of Love (3-1) has never run before but has been posting incredibly strong workout times which gives you hope for a solid maiden effort. Light the Lamp (5-1) offers great value as a horse who ran a big speed figure in his maiden and came up just short. Sea to Air (10-1) also had a nice maiden effort finishing third and put in a nice workout last week making one think he came out of that effort feeling good. I want to like Uncle Joe (10-1) more since he finished a very game third to Light the Lamp last time out after a poor break. If he cleans that up, and that’s a big if, he should be right there, but he ran a very sluggish four-furlong workout last week after running a bullet workout at three furlongs the week before. I might take a flyer on him and see if it pans out.

Win: Light the Lamp ($6,000)

Place: Mentoring ($8,500)

Show: Sea to Air ($1,000)

Race 6

Post time: 3:26 PM ET

Distance: 1 ¼ miles

Type: $15,000 Starter Optional Claiming

Age: 3-years-old and up 

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: An interesting race with a lot of horses going a longer distance than they have in the past. Tallestofthetall (5-2) is a fine morning line favorite who should like the distance and has performed well at this level of race. His workouts have been crisp and even though he’s coming off an eighth-place finish last time out, he gained ground throughout the race and only lost by 3 ½ lengths. I’m not as enthusiastic on The Mighty Judge (3-1) who is stepping up in distance and has a mixed record at anything over a mile. His trainer and jockey are winning at a 27% rate when they pair up, so there is something there, but I’d be cautious. I like Redoute’s Light (6-1) but am worried about the far outside post position. He got caught wide last time and I’m hoping he can avoid doing that again, but it’s a possibility though in a nine-horse field it should be a little easier to find a pocket and only be 2-3 wide around the turns. He’s done well at this level of racing and distance should not be an issue. D’s Ben (10-1) and First Spring (15-1) should both go for the lead and while D’s Ben has had a little more success winning, if he’s pressed for a pace then he typically crumbles and he posted a glacial five-furlong workout last week. I like for First Spring to hold onto a piece of the board.

Win: Tallestofthetall ($8,500)

Place: Redoute’s Light ($5,000)

Show: First Spring ($500)

Race 7

Post time: 3:55 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/8 miles

Type: $62,500 Allowance Optional Claiming

Age: 3-years-old and up 

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: Another massive 14-horse field, but this one has a lot of quality leading up to the Grade II Autumn Stakes. On a certain level, I understand why Lapochka (3-1) is the morning line favorite but it’s also a little puzzling since several other horses in this field have run against superior competition and shown the ability to hit the board in graded stakes races. One of those horses is Theregoesjojo (4-1) who may not win very often but is always around the top three and is as reliable a choice to include in your exotics as any horse in the field. I’m very high on English Conqueror (8-1) as a horse that won his last time out and is getting some class relief after running a Grade I and a Grade III the previous two races. He had a very nice workout last week and has hit the board in 5 of 6 races in 2021. I’m also intrigued by Vanbrugh (10-1) who used to be in Brad Cox’s barn and has run in some big races previously. He won an off-turf race last time out and has run perhaps that fastest five-furlong workout I’ve seen this year in under 59 seconds. Perhaps he leaves it all on track in those morning workouts and he’s stepping up in distance, but at the price, I like the chance.

Win: English Conqueror ($3,000)

Place: Theregoesjojo ($7,000)

Show: Vanbrugh ($1,000)

Race 8

Post time: 4:25 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/16 miles

Type: Autumn Stakes – Grade II

Age: 3-years-old and up

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: A four-horse race between Special Forces (5-2), Sir Winston (9-5), Mighty Heart (3-1), and Halo Again (6-1). Of the other horses, Vanzzy (10-1) provides some potential value on the backend of exotics, but it’s hard to see him cracking the top four. Of the top four, Sir Winston is trending in the right direction and has traded victories and second place finishes with Special Forces the last two times out, so I’m a little surprised there is as much of a betting odds gap between them as exists. Still, Sir Winston looks like a new horse after cutting back in distance and running up at Woodbine. Special Forces is incredibly consistent having never missed the board at Woodbine, at the distance, or in any race the last two years. That’s the sort of consistency on which you like betting. Mighty Heart finished four behind the other three last time out and has not looked particularly sharp in workouts which has me fading the reigning Canadian Horse of the Year. I like for Halo Again to sneak onto the board and provide a little value. He’s coming off nearly a year layoff and ran huge in his first race back and has bounced back with some nice five-furlong workouts to show he’s fresh off the race. He should be in a good position just off the pace and will have an ideal trip. Ultimately, I’ll go with Sir Winston who I think got a new lease on his racing career north of the border after trending the wrong direction after his 2019 Belmont Stakes victory.

Win: Sir Winston ($9,200)

Place: Halo Again ($5,000)

Show: Special Forces ($8,500)

Race 9

Post time: 4:55 PM ET

Distance: 5 ½ furlongs

Type: Allowance $101,200 purse

Age: 3-years-old and up 

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: This is an intriguing race where it appears the two favorites Lake Shore Drive (5-2) and Aim for the Sky (3-1) will both go for the lead. Aim for the Sky always does, while Lake Shore Drive’s latest bullet workout and the fact his only victory came when he wired the field leads one to assume these two may lock up. Lake Shore Drive has two advantages. First, he’s got the outside post position and can see how things are unfolding while also having more experience going longer. Aim for the Sky has gotten tracked down and passed late the last two times out at 6 furlongs, which is why I’m guessing he’s cut back in distance slightly in this race, but a speed duel could compromise his endurance. The larger issue for both horses is that there are a lot of horses in this field who like going for the lead and not everyone will get their way. Lake Shore Drive has shown some versatility in coming from off the pace. The next set of horses leave a little to be desired as Sandy Bay (4-1), Threefifityseven (6-1), and Checkerboard Floor (8-1) have combined for 14 races in 2021 and only hit the board a total of six times with zero victories. I’m a little higher on Checkerboard Floor since he’s done well at Woodbine and at this distance. Ignited (10-1) is a horse that has had a nice summer in the Midwest at Ellis Park and Arlington Park but faltered when going up in distance. Now that he’s back to a sprint and has had two months off following a trainer switch, I like his chances to hit the board, especially since his workouts have been looking impressive. Ultimately, this race will come down to whether there is just too much early speed with so many horses trying to grab the lead. I have a feeling Lake Shore Drive will get the best trip from that outside post position so I’m going to lean toward chalk with some value underneath.

Win: Lake Short Drive ($8,500)

Place: Checkerboard Floor ($3,000)

Show: Ignited ($1,000)

Race 10

Post time: 5:25 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/16 miles

Type: $15,000 Claiming

Age: 3-years-old and up

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: We should see Undefiled (5-1) and Ammunition (6-1) set the early pace and both horses offer something to like. Undefiled finally broke his maiden last time out but that was only after stepping down in maiden price and now he’s running against other winners. Ammunition has been running very consistent speed figures at a slightly higher level of claiming races, so I like the slight class relief and the fact he’ll be on, or near, the lead. Battle of Yorktown (3-1) ran his best race last time out and got second at a $14,000 claiming race but the trainer and jockey do not inspire a ton of confidence. Fifth Season (4-1), like Ammunition, is taking a step down in class and has been training well since his last effort so it’s fair to expect a solid effort considering he’s hit the board four of five-time he has run this distance. Of the long shots, I would say Stop the Humbug (12-1) and Kosmonavt (12-1) both offer some potential value given the way they have competed against other horses in the field and the fact they both like the distance.

Win: Ammunition ($5,000)

Place: Fifth Season ($6,000)

Show: Kosmonavt ($750)

Race 11

Post time: 5:55 PM ET

Distance: 6 ½ furlongs

Type: $15,000 Maiden Claiming

Age: 3-years-old and up

Surface: Synthetic

Overview: We’ll crown a first-time winner in our final race in a 13-horse field. Blue Snow (3-1) has been close to winning the last two times out and is staying in the sprint division after running mostly route races to this point in his career. I’m often wary of horses that like coming in second and almost find an excuse not to win. In All Alone (4-1) is stepping down in class but has not run particularly well the last two times out. He is cutting back, again, in distance so perhaps that will help compensate for the lack of kick. Steel Wool (12-1) is a solid horse but you should only expect for him to help you on the backend of deep exotics as he typically comes in third or fourth. Best and Final (6-1) got my favorite racing form note two races ago “failed to menace” which is my Twitter handle, but jokes aside, I don’t love the price for a horse that’s not performed well since switching barns. To find a winner, I’m looking toward the outside and Hip to Your Tricks (8-1). Yes, he’s finished behind a few other horses in the field in previous races, but he rarely turns in a bad performance and likes the distance combined with a nice post draw. He should get an ideal trip near the lead and can close at the end.

Win: Hip to Your Tricks ($3,000)

Place: Blue Snow ($8,000)

Show: Steel Wool ($750)

Get all of Matthew’s horse racing coverage by following him on Twitter at @failedtomenace, by subscribing to Amalfi Media’s YouTube channel, and following The Win Place Show podcast.

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