09/17/2011 9:08AM

Woodbine Mile Weekend

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Although the Woodbine Mile is the featured race of the weekend, I'm a bit more interested in the two other graded stakes on Sunday's card.

Canadian Stakes - Woodbine (Sunday) - Race 5:

On paper, the Canadian looks like an excellent betting race.  The nine-furlong grass event around one turn lists 14 runners and the probable favorite, Grade 1 winner ZAGORA, is listed at a tepid 3-1 on the morning line.
MAGIC BROOMSTICK was competitive with horses like MEKONG MELODY, MISS KELLER, FANTASIA and NEVER RETREAT during an eight-race campaign last year and may now be reaching full maturity at age five.  Making her initial start of 2011 on July 24, Magic Broomstick dominated an allowance field, winning off by 8 1/2 lengths with a 99 Beyer Speed Figure.  She may not have beaten the strongest bunch in the world that day, but she did it very nicely and should offer a hint of value in the Canadian (10-1 on the morning line).  Her trainer, Mark Frostad, tried to run Magic Broomstick since that allowance romp, but a pair of prep races didn't fill.  Instead, Magic Broomstick has been working steadily.  She has enough tactical speed to sit off what projects to be a solid pace and a repeat of her last start would make the Sam-Son Farm mare a handful. 
Selections:  MAGIC BROOMSTICK, STARS TO SHINE, NEVER RETREAT

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Northern Dancer Stakes - Woodbine (Sunday) - Race 8:

This race kicks off a $200,000 Guaranteed Pick 4.  BOURBON BAY (consistent, classy, proven at 12 furlongs) and WIGMORE HALL (terrible trip in the Arlington Million) head the Northern Dancer, but I will take a stab with HAILSTONE, a half-brother to Woodbine Mile winner Court Vision that exits a weird running of the Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes at 10 furlongs on August 21.  There was only one speed in the Sky Classic and Kara's Orientation ran off to a double-digit lead through moderate fractions.  Positions remained unchanged throughout the running and Hailstone finished an even third ahead of next-out Grade 2 winner Grassy.  There isn't much pace signed on for the Northern Dancer, either, but Hailstone may attempt to stay closer to the expected early leader, HOTEP, before pouncing at a crucial stage.
Selections:  HAILSTONE, AL KHALI, BOURBON BAY

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Here are quick-and-dirty selections for some of the weekend's stakes races:

Natalma:  QUALITY LASS, NORTHERN PASSION, DAYATTHESPA
Summer:  FINALE, MAKING AMENDS, MARITIMER
Garden City:  ARCH SUPPORT, THEYSKENS' THEORY, HUNGRY ISLAND
Pucker Up:  LOVE DARE, MARKETING MIX, SEA LEVEL DRIVE
Charles Town Oaks:  GROUPIE DOLL, STRIKE THE MOON, HER SMILE
Noble Damsel:  AVIATE, THAI HAKU, UNBRIDLED HUMOR
Woodbine Mile:  DANCE AND DANCE, SIDE GLANCE, GRAND ADVENTURE

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For a more in-depth look at this weekend's stakes races, take a peek at the videos that Mike Beer and I produced for our homepage. Scroll down to the second video player for our videos.

http://www.drf.com/news/weekend-stakes-preview-videos

http://www.drf.com/news/arlington-pucker-could-be-someones-stepping-stone-qe-ii-challenge-cup

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Enjoy the weekend.