09/17/2001 11:00PM

A CLOSER LOOK at Woodbine races on 9/20

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1st Race

First Class Gold

From the first crop of 'Case, who had speed and his foals seem to have early lick too; this is also the first foal of the mare, a stakes winner as a 2yo; he debuts in a small field and that is ideal but there is a speedy, experienced foe to his outside and the draw post might not be a great spot to start.

J B Zero

His sire is average as a debut sire and this $28,000 yearling (U.S.). is form a mare who has produced 5 winners (through last year) and she's 2 for 3 with 2yo winners; colt has been working in company this summer.

When It Was

Came off a 6 week layoff for his 2nd start and dropped to maiden claiming for the first and that led to improvement; he dueled 2 wide early in the race and then was on the rail from the turn to the wire and he battled hard all the way; he drops again and might be long gone on this field.

William's Lad

Yet another beginner by 'Town and this is a 1/2 brother to 3 winners and all won at age 2, including one that won 1st time out; the workout times have been solid and trainer Buttigieg has had some success with juveniles at the meet.

Nite At The Oscars

His sire is below average as a debut sire and this is the 4th foal of an unraced mare; might want more distance eventually.

Sparkinthedark

'Sparky' was a longshot for his debut race last month and came out of the gate sluggishly but he had some energy in the stretch and closed well despite a mild speed bias; he stays at the short distance but a better start should lead to improvement; threat.

-Jennifer Morrison

2nd Race

Stroll On

Has been away for 2 months since a disappointing outing when he dropped down to this class level but stopped as the heavy favourite; he figures to have some speed form the rail but there are some other quick ones in the field like Spark Regent; skeptical.

Prince Diablo

3-year-old tackles older runners and he turned back to a sprint distance for his latest and raced evenly while seemingly racing against a strong outside bias; he has some speed to chase but has not hit the top three this year.

Betsy's Forum

Had a short layoff before his latest and he was eager to go in that race, dueling 3 wide to the turn and 2 wide on the bend before he weakened; he gets a rider change from an apprentice to one of the leading jockeys and he shortens up slightly in distance; consider.

Spark Regent

Very fast gelding had a bad start 2 races ago and rushed up to clear the field before fading; he broke only slightly better last time and was clear on the turn and into the stretch but again he faded; he's hoping for a speed favouring track.

Market Advance

Consistently good gelding rarely runs a bad race and he was in action a month ago when always close to the pace and he fought hard to the wire before being caught by a stretch runner; he goes for new interests and has had a couple of 5 furlong workouts which suggests he's fit and ready to go; factor.

Big Buddy Bull

The Fort Erie runners are starting to do very well at this meet as the long season winds down and this guy was very impressive in his Woodbine debut; he was very far behind the field early in the race and extremely wide on the turn but he blew by his foes in mid-stretch and won handily; he shortens up and meets tougher; can't ignore.

-Jennifer Morrison

3rd Race

Spirit Solution

Filly tries the boys but drops in class for another marathon test; she was eyeing the longer distance in her latest but was always outrun and the move down to intermediate claiming should help her stay a bit closer.

Profacy

Has had 10 outings this year but no top three shares to show for those races; he lacks speed like so many others in the field so maybe the 10 furlong distance will give him time to get closer; he came very close to getting 3rd place in his latest at Fort Erie; minor share.

Canadian Friday

Has the breeding to appreciate the longer distance and he had a mild rally on the rail in his debut after racing a bit greenly in the early stages; this is a weak field so give him a chance to be a top three player.

Instant Change

Sizy 4-year-old stretches out to a 2 turn distance for the first time and he had a mild late rally in his latest a month ago; the winner of his latest came back to score again against winners.

Live for Lenny

Showed sudden improvement last time, presumably because of the blinkers and he might have been the best horse that day; he had a terrible start as he was squeezed back at the break and he rushed up 4 wide early in the event to press the pace, was 3 wide on the turn and finally got a bit tired; he will need a better timed rider at this longer trip; contender.

Pheasantback

Looks like a horse who will appreciate the longer distance based on his debut race when he lacked speed and displayed a long, galloping stride; he stretched out for his latest but was looking for turf (thus the step up for $50,000 claiming) and when the race came off the turf, he was outrun and overmatched; he class drop might bring him closer.

Thanks to Gord

Was back on the dirt for his latest but like Pheasantback, was looking for turf but the race came off and he could not keep up; he drops back down to a better level and he was picking up shares in a series of events before his turf experiment.

Feet of Flames

Makes his 3rd start after a short layoff and stretches out in distance after sprinting in his first 6 career trips; he is bred to handle the longer distance and had some late run in his latest behind a fast, front running winner; the field is weak and he rates as a contender.

-Jennifer Morrison

4th Race

American In Paris

Has run well when fresh in the past winning her first of this year and she could be ready off the work tab; if she runs one of her better races she should be in the hunt.

Regal Step

Has been alternating claimers and allowance races and is back in for a tag where she can be competitive if she runs another good race; it won't be as easy this time as the pace does not figure to be so accommodating in this match up; she is still very possible though insisting on higher odds considering the match up would make a lot of sense.

Lobraico Lane

Was a smart winner with easier last time and moves from the conditioned to the open ranks while stepping up in class as well; she has speed and can be tough in that regard though she will need to run fast throughout to get and maintain the lead at this level.

Foolish Gator

Was a winner in this class at Mth as spring turned to summer and after tailing off has been rested; has the 5F work and should be a threat with a good effort off the layoff.

Once Silver

Was claimed and is stepped up; she has the potential off her past races and should she ever return to her form from a year ago she will have a major impact on the outcome today; that may be unlikely, but is not impossible.

Lazylou Cafe

The blinkers are on again as she goes turf to dirt and drops; she has been struggling this year and until she turns her game around she is seen as unlikely.

Mi Angelica

Missed by a neck in one of her best efforts on the year last time and that race came with the turf-to-dirt move which she attempts to repeat again here; she drops and while her previous turf race had been better she will have her hands full this time.

Jazz'em Up Jane

Has yet to get untracked against open company and takes on her toughest test since she left the conditioned ranks; she will have a difficult time of it today.

Mom's Valentine

Was claimed from her best recent race which came for this price tag and is back in with similar after failing in two tries with better; the drop should positively affect her performance and if it does she should threaten for the top spot with an outside stalking trip.

-Steve Zacks

5th Race

La Defense

Tries grass for the first time and is by an above average turf sire but from a mare whose first two turf starters did not win on the grass; she comes off a front running win in the slop but the presence of the fleet Bonita Bay will mean she might have to adjust her running style.

Brunfelsia

Was nicely prepared to win her season debut and she had run well when fresh last summer too; she is entered to try grass but does not have a lot of turf breeding and perhaps she might be a 'bounce' candidate in this 2nd start off the layoff.

Bonita Bay

Very fast mare tried to steal a race on this slick turf course 2 starts ago but was traveling a route distance and was simply going far too fast on the lead and she finally wilted; she had a better outing at a shorter distance against easier at her home track last time and will shorten up again for this Woodbine return; speed has dones well on this course because of the lack of rain.

Leading Role

Has a good grass pedigree and it was thought she would do well in her turf debut (when she was 48 to 1) and again last time; she ran well in both efforts but made the lead a bit too soon last time and she was caught; turning back to a sprint distance should be ideal; factor.

Emilyna

Her sire has not had many turf starters and the mare is 1 for 4 with turf winners from starters; this gal came off a layoff last month and flashed some speed in a modest event; taking others.

Steffi G.

Loves the grass but recently came off a very long layoff and she probably needed that race; she showed big speed in that race but was out of gas in the stretch and perhaps she will carry her speed a bit longer in this easier spot.

Bold Courant

Steady filly loves a turf sprint and she has not run too many bad ones this summer; she was expected to be a major player in her latest when she dropped down to claiming again but the turf was very firm and the race was very fast, leaving her with an even effort behind a tough Fort Erie runner; this field is not much tougher; top three chance.

Crown's Shadow

Has changed barns again, while keeping the same owner, and she comes off a one-month break and moves to the grass, a surface she seems to handle okay; she was not beaten far in the 'Damsel Stakes in July when she had a troubled trip; she had a busy spring so maybe the freshening time will be beneficial; her sire had the Atto Mile winner, Numerous Times.

Crystal Harmony

Showed a lot of ability last year in her training but it wasn't until she moved to the grass this year that she ran to that training; she was probably burned out in the pace duel in her latest turf effort at a longer distance and the shorter distance of this race will help her rebound.

Phone Dancer

Won her maiden on grass and then wasn't beaten far in a stakes race on turf but her latest outings have not been as good; the turf was a bit 'giving' last time in the Colleen and she was a big longshot that day; she meets easier and could hit the tri.

Coyote Willow

Also eligible is a speedy gal but if she draws in, her style might conflict with that of Bonita Bay and others; she dropped in class for her latest and was leading in the stretch before she was collared.

-Jennifer Morrison

6th Race

Beautiful Eyes

Solid debut effort from this gal despite the sluggish beginning - with her high, galloping stride, she rallied 3 wide off the turn and closed mildly behind a logical winner; she rushes back into action and that would be the only concern.

Ben's Dancin

Broke slowly in her debut as a longshot in a key-type maiden race so she essentially starts over again with the drop to claiming.

Arab Queen

She's by a young sire who liked grass but he is above average so far as a debut sire; the mare has produced 3 winners from 4 starters (through last year) and she's 1 for 4 with 2yo winners from starters; her workout times have been average.

Silver Champ

Rallied nicely in her 3rd start to just miss on a speed favouring track but she tackled tougher in her latest and was outrun; she can rebound with the drop in class.

Virginia Forum

Goes for a hot stable and this gal was claimed from her debut and raced evenly in her latest while racing on the rail; she gets an outside post as she stretches out 2 furlongs in distance; might try and steal this race on the pace.

Calling Code

Has 'clouded ' form with recent starts on grass and at the maiden allowance level; the last time she raced for a high claiming price she was an even 4th behind a subsequent stakes winner; don't dismiss.

Barbarella

Stretches out in distance and might be one of a couple of gals fighting for the early lead; she made an mid-race bid in her latest but weakened in the stretch and note that the runner-up has since come back to win her maiden; her trainer has been known to do well with new claims.

-Jennifer Morrison

7th Race

La Princess Jolie

Used the turf-to-dirt move to turn in a strong performance as she ran away and hid from an allowance group at FE; she has a decent career record and off that race should have a chance to be competitive here if she can run that kind of an effort against this kind of company and over this surface; that may be a tall order but ...

Fleur De Sel

Won her first with Lasix but has found the competition at this level somewhat more difficult than she did with easier; she will have to turn her game around off her return race and considering the opposition she faces today she looks to be less than promising.

Branksome Hall

Has been winless in seven starts this year and is still in above her condition as she steps up; while her latest was better it is unlikely that she will measure up to these this time either.

Healing Knowledge

Was a winner in the restricted Algoma in a less than stellar effort off the layoff as when she posted a modest surprise; even if she repeats that race she may have her hands full if some of the others run their race; contender but likely to be overbet off her last win.

Katherine of Ascot

Was in with similar dropping last time when she set all the pace and was caught late she does look promising here if she can repeat that tough beat in her second start back from the layoff; this is a field where she might be able to get the kind of pave trip she needs; contender with a big shot if she shows up today.

Foxy Connection

Guess the turf was not her surface and it was not an easy spot to try it either; she has tractable dirt speed and if the turf-to-dirt move has a beneficial effect and she runs well she could be good enough for these; very interesting indeed.

Extend

Will have to "extend" herself more this time than last if she wants to win this race in this more difficult spot; she has a couple of solid works and should be up to another good effort here; these will be tougher but if she may be able to handle the move ahead and does figure to continue to improve as she matures; contender.

-Steve Zacks

8th Race

Silver Spear

Tops the Stronach different trainer entry; he was in too tough and may have been the cause of his own problems last time though the opposition was a little too tough; he is still in a tougher spot than is necessary and would not take him at the probable short price; should he drift up in odds, would at least think twice.

Wild Bandit

Tino's part of the entry has tried the turf three times recently and was winning for a tag two starts ago; he will have to run better than his winning turf race if he hopes to win here; others preferred even if both halves of the entry run.

Rare Sortof Devil

Is up in class off a narrow miss last time when he tried to rally from far back; that at a time when being up front was often favorable; he looks very promising in this spot if he can run one of his better races and he does have one of the better races at the distance and he should be tough in here if he can run his race again.

Miller's Mark

Another with a good turf record he has been working his way up the claiming ranks and came close to winning just before taking some time off; he did beat easier at the distance before that with a decent last half and he is a possibility in here if he can run back to that race after the layoff though running fresh has not recently been his specialty.

Alea Iacta Est

Might find these a little easier than the Atto Mile group and he was not that far back in an even effort; his race in the Play The King may give a better indication of his talents and considering that he is one of the few to race well with better against a group mainly running above their conditions, the classifiers should find him very attractive; he could get it done against this group even at a distance which might exceed his best.

Apalachian Chief

Has been struggling over the last couple of seasons having gone winless in that time sometimes facing better and sometimes easier; his pre-layoff race showed some positives, but it is tough to see him beating all of these.

Ocean Front

Is winless in three prior turf tries and he did win his first allowance race last time on the dirt; he comes into this in good form and with a work but will have to run better than he has on the turf in order to get anything with these.

-Steve Zacks

9th Race

Right Stop

Shipper will seek his first local win in his second start here; would expect that he will have to face a faster pace today as he did the first time here and that did him in then; if it is slower and the inside is good he will have a chance to run back to his latest and that would get him something.

U Otabe Wild

Newcomer to the local circuit will run for a tag for the first time as he seeks to find his proper niche on the local scene; he has not run in a while and has not worked here so far; inclined to see him run once.

Leavethestudio

Won a couple of races back to back and was claimed a couple of times too; he has the one work and drops from his last; he is in below the price of the last claim and may have his hands full here.

Fox's Friends

Was freshened off the claim and had a start with better and now drops for a little less than he was taken for; he could well run better today and should have a shot to win in this kind of a race.

Hunting The Gold

Failed to step up to pricier winners after winning his penultimate race for his first career victory; interesting how similar the race fractions were and how differently he ran; would need a reversal back to his best but he is a possibility should he turn things around.

Speedy Comet

Was placed in a very difficult situation last time off the maiden win and ran well enough to be in contention at this distance before he faded; that could set him up for this easier spot and he does seem to be better this cycle; could he pull off the surprise? in double digits, would want to see him on the ticket.

Arctic Trumpeter

Tough to like off his recent races even as he drops from allowance to claimers; shortens up but will likely still have his hands full with these.

Robin Of Sherwood

Hard to say whether or not his latest is a signal that he has gone off form or whether or not he will improve again as he is back in for a tag where he last time won his second race; like the fact that he worked and the surface might have had a lot to do with the time of it, though the 36 of 37 does not really excite; the lower the odds, the greater the inclination to play against.

Two Silver

Drops into new low territory and has to be looked at off his latest; he has worked since and could go better in his second start back and should be tough at this level; contender.

Mekena South

Ran a solid race last time on the heels of the recent win and he is again a threat with a repeat; he has a solid 5F work getting ready and would see him as one to include if near the morning line of 6-1; contender.

-Steve Zacks

- Editor's note - The Closer Look feature, which is normally available only to drf.com subscribers, is being offered free of charge until Daily Racing Form can produce its full statistical and editorial product.