The summer's Grade 1 prep races for the Breeders' Cup are just about said and done with, but Saratoga has yet another great weekend of racing in front of it.
Only eight will go to post at the Woodward Stakes, one of the top races of the entire summer, but the field is less than overwhelming without a single horse that probably stands a chance of being better than 15 to 1 to win the Breeders' Cup Classic.
1: Wicked Strong 5/2
2: Liam's Map 6/5
3: Commanding Curve 30/1
4: Bay of Plenty 10/1
5: Mylute 15/1
6: Coach Inge 6/1
7: Effinex 4/1
8: Protonico 12/1
An interesting field for sure, and one, as we said in the opening, wouldn't be able to hold a candle to American Pharoah or some of the other big time colts who will be contending for the Breeders' Cup this season.
Wicked Strong and Liam's Map are the two overwhelming favorites at the Woodward, though Effinex and Coach Inge are both solid middling choices, too.
Protonico, Bay of Plenty, Mylute and Commanding Curve round out this field, all of which are at double-digit prices.
FAVORITE TO FOLLOW
There's not a ton of speed in this race, which is what makes Liam's Map such an appealing choice on the horse racing betting lines. He is going to start off at the head of this pack without all that much in the way of opposition in all likelihood, and if he races as well as he did in many of his early career races, he'll have a real shot to win on Saturday.
The issue that we have with Liam's Map is that he’s only run in one graded stakes race before, that being at the Whitney Handicap last month here at Saratoga. That day, he busted out to the lead and tired out at the end, getting run down by Honor Code after opening up a lead as big as five lengths with a furlong to go.
However, what can't get lost in all of this is that Liam's Map ran a 109 Beyer Speed Rating against Honor Code, so losing to him wasn't the end of the world from a handicapping standpoint.
UNDERDOG TO WATCH
Effinex doesn't have a huge price on his head at 4 to 1, but at least he has had success of late. Throw out the Brooklyn Stakes in June, knowing that he just had a miserable run that day and didn't finish.
Aside from that though, Effinex won the Suburban Handicap with a 110 Beyer Speed Rating, and he won the Excelsior Stakes as well at Aqueduct against a surprisingly good field which included Wicked Strong.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
There really isn't all that much justification for taking any of these horses in the Woodward Stakes, as this is really just a Grade 1 race comprised of Grade 3 caliber colts.
A 2-7 exacta box makes a lot of sense here to us, but don't break the bank in doing so. The Woodward Stakes won't end up in a huge payoff, though it would at least be a $10 exacta if Effinex came in on top.
The price doesn't justify playing Liam's Map as the big favorite, but at least 4 to 1 is a palatable price on Effinex. Bet on him to come from off of the pace to run down Liam's Map at the wire.
Play Effinex to win the Woodward Stakes
BookMaker's online racebook will carry all of the great horse racing odds for this Saturday race. Bet on every major track in North America with just a few simple clicks of your mouse, and parlay your wagers for even bigger winnings with rebates of up to 8%.
Load your betting bankroll from your smartphone or tablet with BookMaker's new cashier feature! Depositing and withdrawing funds from your account has never been easier. BookMaker's live betting platform means you always have access to odds and lines to every sporting event. Click here, and start wagering right now! Bet on horse racing today with the Woodward Stakes, which goes to post on Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 5:47 p.m. ET at Saratoga Race Course.