2017 Woodbine Mile Picks with Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
The Woodbine Mile is one of the top one-mile turf races in North America - and one of the few that is internationally significant. It is run for a purse of $1 million. Don't get too excited, though - that's Canadian dollars. The race has only been run since 1988, but it has had some very significant winners. The legendary champion filly and Canadian Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly won in 1991. So did Canadian Triple Crown winners Izvestia and Peteski. Skip Away won the race in 1996 when he won the first of his four championships. Wise Dan won the race in 2012 and 2013 - and was named Horse of the Year both times. And the great mare Tepin won it last year and went on to win her second straight female turf horse championship.
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This year's field might not quite have quite the caliber of horses that some have had in the past, but there is still plenty of intriguing quality here, and it promises to be a very solid race. Here's how the field shapes up:
Deauville (5/2): When Aidan O'Brien arrives in North America with a runner, you are smart to pay attention. This is a very nice horse, but I'll be looking to beat him here. He has lost his last four races, and in the Arlington Million last month he had the race won before fading late. I respect him, and the shorter distance should help him here, but there are enough interesting runners out there that I'll look elsewhere.
Lancaster Bomber (9/2): Another O'Brien runner. This colt was second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last year, so we know he can run in North America. We almost saw him earlier in the spring as he was rumored to be in consideration for the Belmont but he didn't show. While I like the colt - he's visually impressive - the biggest knock against him is that he hasn't won since breaking his maiden in August of 2016, so he's riding a nine-race losing streak. He has to be a factor in exotics betting, but I'll pass on him to win.
Mondialiste (8/1): This is yet another Euro and the most accomplished horse in the field. He won this race in 2015 and was second in the Breeders' Cup Mile that year as well. He also won the Arlington Million last year. Unfortunately, the seven-year-old hasn't won since then, with eight losses in a row, including a disastrous outing the Breeders' Cup Turf. Last year he'd have been a big pick. This year, though, I feel fine looking past him.
Dutch Connection (6/1): This is an interesting Euro. He was an ugly 12th in the Breeders' Cup Mile last year. He ran two pretty flat races early this summer in Britain but then came back to win nicely at the end of August. He may have found his form, and at this price that would be nice. He's a factor.
World Approval (7/2): Mark Casse basically owned Woodbine for years before directing most of his attention south of the border in recent years. Besides having the local knowledge, he's one of the world's top trainers. And he has a strong horse here. They tried going longer with this horse and had some success, but it is since they shortened him up in recent outings that he has really become a beast. He has three wins in his last four and is in strong form. Of mild concern is that he hasn't looked great in two outings at Woodbine, but the sample size is small. He's the horse to beat and my pick to win.
Conquest Panthera (12/1): This is the second Casse horse in the field. He is five-years-old, but he has struggled badly with injuries, and this is the first season that he has stayed healthy enough to race a full season. And it has gone well. He has been third three times in graded stakes this year, and he won the local prep race - the grade 2 Play The King Stakes - last time out. At the kind of price he's likely to go off at there is value here - especially on the bottom half of exotics. I'll be betting the World Approval-Conquest Panthera exacta among my plays for sure.
Tower of Texas (12/1): This is a local runner - 21 of his 23 career starts have been at Woodbine. He was fourth behind Conquest Panthera in the Play the King last time out, but he was a strong second behind Tepin in this race last year, so we know he can rise to the occasion. I don't particularly like him in this spot, but I get why some people would.
The rest: Dragon Bay (20/1) is another local horse, but this is a tough spot for him and I think he likes a longer race. Long on Value (15/1) is coming out of a turf sprint race, and his connections are trying to find the right spot for him. This is not it. Ironically. He is really short on value here. Glenville Gardens (20/1) is another local horse, and he has won at a mile on this course, but this is too much of a step up in class for him. Arod (20/1) is a Euro who was decent in this race last year but has been just horrible since - mostly in Australia. And Best Bard (50/1) has even less hope than the odds suggest.
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