I've calculated the Kennedy Speed Ratings (KSR) for each applicable race at Woodbine on Sunday. Unfortunately I could not find the BRISnet data for races 3, 10 and 11 so those have been left out. For anyone not familiar with these ratings the essential premise is that any horse rated 100 or higher is fast enough to win, the others are not. This system is still in it's infancy so posts like these are really more like tests rather than statements of confidence. Still perhaps a few of you will find it interesting.
Northern Dancer Stakes
It's a pretty even race with many logical ways to go. I've ended up with Marchfield in this race. I think he's in excellent current form and 12f on the grass is just perfect for him. Having watched all of Marchfields races this year he just seems like a horse that is coming up to a boiling point. All his races are looking better and better and it has generally been coinciding with him having longer races. It's hard to believe that his connections have given him so few chances on the grass. He won a leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at 12f in his turf debut but still he's only had 6 turf races total. He is 4 for 16 on the main track and 3 for 6 on the grass. He is 4-2-1-0 in races 10f or longer on the grass. It's hard to imagine any of the horses he beat in the Sky Classic coming back to reverse the form. The main threats I see are Quijano and Just As Well. Just as Well is a logical threat but I'm not a huge fan of his first time in Canada and first time at 12f I prefer those with a bit more course and distance experience. Quijano fits the bill as one having both course and distance experience. This will be his 4th race at Woodbine and he has twice gone close to winning a G-1 here. He fell victim to what I call the "Euro bounce" last time out but he should be better this time. Europeans often run extremely well first time off the plane but fade next time out if they try another North American start right away. I think Quijano will bounce back to his normal form which puts him in the 102 Beyer range. That's good enough to get himself right in the mix here. I still narrowly prefer Marchfield but Quijano has a major chance. There are others with chances as well I just don't like them as much.
This is one of my favorite races of the year. Outside the Breeders' Cup and Kentucky Derby I'm not sure that there's a race I enjoy more. This field is as solid as ever and I think whoever wins this will have to do it with a real top drawer performance. Ian Black, the trainer of Rahy's Attorney, has predicted that the stakes record is likely to fall on Sunday. I think I agree with him. This race has some decent pace, excellent stalkers and tremendous closers. Every sectional of this race could be run very quickly. I've enlisted the help of my 20-20 profile system to help parse the contenders from the pretenders. You can view the full rankings below but in a nutshell there are actually 4 perfect qualifiers this year. Bribon, Rahy's Attorney, Jungle Wave and Daylight Express. Ventura surprisingly is not among the qualifiers. Daylight Express is a bonafide bomb who surprisingly ticks all the right boxes. His speed is an unknown quantity but we can't fault him because of a lack of information. I don't think Barbadian form is quite good enough though so I'm going against him. Jungle Wave is a horse I'm becoming increasingly partial to but a mile is not his best distance. Connections really should be sticking to sprints with him. That leaves me to Rahy's Attorney and Bribon. Both are fantastic horses and both could easily win the race. I will personally lean towards Rahy's Attorney. I know he had a blowup in his last race but he's a machine at shorter distances and until his last race he's been a real tiger all year long. I think the Sky Classic is just obscuring his real form and he's as good or better than he was last year. He won't be a juicy 12/1 like he was last year but I'll settle for 4/1 on this quality gelding. I still remember watching his father in the inaugural Woodbine Mile. He finished third just a head back of second place behind Geri and Helmsmen. He was never anywhere near as good as Rahy's Attorney is. Bribon may be the next mile superstar and if he is we'll just have to cede the race to him but Bribon has been a bit inconsistent in the past and this track is very different from Saratoga. It's more like the European tracks that he didn't do as well over. I'm hoping the Canadians can defend themselves here and take home first prize.