2018 Woodbine Mile Expert Picks with Odds and Betting Predictions
So, why do we care about the Woodbine Mile - besides the obvious fact that it is in Canada, and everything in Canada is awesome, of course? Well, it's a factory for Breeders' Cup success, and we love having success on Breeders' Cup weekend. World Approval won both the Woodbine MIle and the Breeders' Cup Mile last year, and he was far from the first. His was the third double since 2012, and three other horses won the Breeders' Cup Mile after failing to win this race. 2014 third-place finisher Bobby's Kitten here also won the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. And 11 more horses have come from this race to finish in the top three at the Breeders' Cup. This is a key prep race for a very important Breeders' Cup race - and usually a very entertaining race in its own right.
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This year's race is on Saturday, Sept. 15, and should go off near 4:30 p.m. ET. Here's how the field breaks down, with morning line odds from the track.
Delta Prince (5/2): The favorite is deservingly in that position. The five-year-old missed 10 months of racing before returning on June 30 to win at a mile here at Woodbine - in an obvious effort to gauge his readiness for this race as a fall target. He won that race, the Grade 2 King Edward, very easily for his first graded stakes victory. Then he went to Saratoga for the Fourstardave. The course was softer than he clearly preferred, but he still fought hard and finished a solid second. Now he's here in shape and on a course he clearly likes. The biggest concern for the horse is that the forecast indicates a chance of rain both Friday night and through the day Saturday, so the course may again come up softer than he likes. But if the weather holds then he is the horse to beat in this less impressive field than we have been used to.
Oscar Performance (7/2): Regular readers of these previews will remember that we spoke fairly positively of this horse heading into the Arlington Million just a month ago. He is a three-time Grade 1 winner, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, and he won a nice race in June at Belmont. But at Arlington he had a rough day and was pulled up before the finish because of fears he had taken a bad step. He was looked over closely, though, and there obviously weren't any issues or he wouldn't be back this soon. That outing has impacted his price a bit, and I like that - the horse is well-positioned here.
Lord Glitters (4/1): Euro trainer David O'Meara won this race in 2015 with Mondialiste, and he is back with a first-time North American runner. This horse is coming off a win in the Strensall, which Mondialiste also won en route to his Woodbine Mile win. This horse's most impressive outing was in defeat, though - he was a solid second in the prestigious Queen Anne at Ascot. He's dangerous. A right play in this race feels like going chalky and boxing this horse and the top two in the exacta.
Mr. Havercamp (6/1): This one is looking to be the first Canadian-based winner of the race since 2008. His sire Court Vision won this race in 2010 and the Breeders' Cup Mile in 2011, though, so he has excellent bloodlines for this spot. He won the local prep race to claim his first graded stakes win, but this is a step up and I doubt he is ready. I hate this price intensely.
Divisidero (8/1): This is one of just two Grade 1 winning horses in the race. Both of his big wins came at Churchill Downs, though, and his lone win this year at Belmont was less impressive. He's six now and went through a trainer change this year. He was third in the Fourstardave last time out and doesn't feel up to the challenge here.
Stormy Antarctic (8/1): Based in England and here for the first time, this five-year-old has two wins this year in five starts, so he is in solid form. The wins came in France and, of all places, Germany, though, so they are tough to judge. I'll pass.
Good Samaritan (10/1): I am wearing a Justify t-shirt as I write this (yes, I am a racing dork), so I am obviously drawn to this horse as he shares ownership with the great Triple Crown winner. At two this horse won the Summer on this same surface, so he likes the track. Last year as a three-year-old he moved to dirt and won the Jim Dandy, the Saratoga prep for the Travers, and the New Orleans Handicap early this year. But then his dirt form faded, so he is being tried on the grass again. At his best he is the class of this field, but I am far from convinced we'll see that best.
La Sardane (15/1): She is looking to become only the third filly to win this race, following Ventura in 2009 and the great Tepin two years ago. Trainer Neil Drysdale has won this race three times, so he has clearly picked this spot with intention. The horse had won three straight earlier this year and looked great. But when she came here for a prep race a couple of months back the turf came up soft, and she didn't like it all. She'll be a part of my exotics - only on the bottom of the tri and deeper - but only if the track comes up firm and dry.
Vanish (20/1): This horse was claimed at Woodbine for just $40,00 on July 28. On Aug. 25 he went off at 55/1 in the Play the King but stole second behind Mr. Havercamp to return most of the investment made to claim him. And now he's in this ambitious spot. This race is much tougher than the Play the King was, and conditions and the field helped him there. The course was yielding that day, so an off track could help him again, but I'll pass on him regardless.
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