This is an extremely tough race with a full 12 entrants. Often you can get a bit of an advantage in races like this by going for course or distance specialists but there is no chance of that this time. Eight horses have won at the distance and another six have won over the course. You could pretty much end up on anyone and I wouldn't laugh. I think the pace will be pretty hot since there are so many speed horses and with such a full field jockeys will be anxious to get a good position. I'll look to get a bit of a price on a pair that could come from off the pace. The first is Peace Chant. His record looks spotty but if you remove the synthetic and turf races from his record he is 6-4-1-0 with three triple digit Beyers. He is definitely fast enough to win the race and the conditions suit him perfectly. I also like Ready's Echo, his record is somewhat obscured by routes and surfaces switches but when you shake it all down the only sprint he ever lost was that remarkable career debut when he came from another zip code in the final furlong to run second. He likes Saratoga and he's a very dangerous closing sprinter if things set up for him. Don't be surprised if he lights up the board.
When I handicap races I often find myself on the wrong side of some of the most powerful performances of our era. I'm usually looking for a way to beat the stars. I do feel kind of guilty on occasion but for the most part racing's stars laugh off my skepticism and romp in impressive style. The Woodward is a race where I expect Rachel Alexandra to win but I won't be picking her on top just in case the unthinkable happens. If Rachel wins this race, even in less than dominating style, she could legitimately lay claim to being the greatest female of the modern era. However I do think that this race will be tougher than all the rest. I'm going to play It's a Bird against the filly because I think it's a great chance to get 10/1 on a horse that is well above par going two turns. He last race doesn't look great but that was in a one turn race. 9f around two turns is perfect for It's a Bird and Marty Wolfson is very savvy when it comes to placing horses like this. It seems like everywhere she goes Rachel has had to deal with one "bird" or another. This bird is the best of the lot and he should give Rachel all she can handle.
It's a Bird
Del Mar's premier event looks just about as good as anything seen at Saratoga. It's a full field that looks pretty well matched. I kind of feel like the favorites could dominate this race and afterwords everyone will talk about how it was so obvious. At the same time the longshots could fill out the major places and that would have to be no great shock either. Not when you have quality horses like Parading and Informed at 10/1 and Misremembered at 12/1. I have a 20-20 statistical profile for this race and I've linked it below. It looks as though Rail Trip is the only perfect qualifier while there are 5 horses all tied for the second ranking. Rail Trip does look scary off the performance at Hollywood. If he goes close to that performance again he'll crush them all. Colonel John has to be respected but I think he's terrible value as the possible morning line favorite. I think Rail Trip is plainly a better horse. I'll use Awesome Gem in the mix beneath Rail Trip just because I think he could suck up into one of those minor places. He has been resurgent of late and he could have one more big effort in him. Einstein has to be heavily respected as well. His fortunes have fallen lately but on synthetics he might get some new life. I'll use Rail Trip on top with Awesome Gem, Colonel John, Einstein and Informed underneath. I respect Parading and I do think he'll improve this time but I just don't have room for him this time.