06/10/2010 11:00PM

Embur's Song key to Oaks exacta


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Woodbine will have a strong racing card Sunday, with three stakes races offering a combined total of $750,000 in purse money.

The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks is the featured event. Five of the eight Canadian-foaled 3-year-old fillies in the field have been stakes placed, but a reasonable argument can be made that the most likely winner isn't among them.

Embur's Song, trained by Todd Pletcher, debuted in a seven-furlong maiden special race at Keeneland and dominated her rivals in a facile 13 1/4-length victory. She shipped to Woodbine, stretched out to 1 1/16 miles, and was the comfortable 3 3/4-length winner of an allowance race. The 99 Beyer Speed Figure she earned at Keeneland and the 98 Beyer she received for her allowance win are both significantly higher than the Beyers earned by the stakes winners and the stakes-placed opponents that she'll battle in the Oaks. She continues to train impressively and will be hard to deny if she matches her previous form.

Resentless ended her 2-year-old campaign with a 5 1/4-length win in late November in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie and then picked up where she left off when she won the seven-furlong restricted Fury by five lengths in her return on May 1. Continued progress second time back from the sidelines would make her the filly most likely to capitalize if Embur's Song regresses in her first battle with stakes company.

Ernfold looks best of the rest. She improved with the addition of blinkers two races ago and ran a solid race while finishing second last time in the $167,000 La Lorgnette.

I'll play the exacta in the Woodbine Oaks. Seventy-five percent of my bet on this race will be on the Embur's Song/Resentless combination, with the remaining 25 percent bet using Resentless over Embur's Song.

The $150,000 Plate Trial precedes the Oaks.

Hollinger was undefeated in four starts last year. The concern is that he tired and finished a nonthreatening fourth as the heavy favorite in the seven-furlong restricted Queenston when he returned from a six month layoff on May 15. Improvement is possible second time back, but he will probably be overbet as he tries to rebound. Moving from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles is a concern for a horse who tired in that shorter race.

Mobilizer, an uncoupled stablemate of Hollinger from the Roger Attfield barn, is an interesting alternative. He finished third at Keeneland in his debut and then graduated against 3-year-olds and up at Woodbine. He added Lasix in an allowance race third time out and improved his Beyer from 78 to 93 when he finished second in that highly rated 1 1/16-mile race. A similar performance would give him a chance to win at overlaid odds.

The first stakes race of the day is the $100,000 Alywow, a 6 1/2-furlong turf race for 3-year-old fillies.

Worstcasescenario is the most accomplished filly in the race based on her 2-year-old form. She won the Grade 2 Adirondack in her second start, but the concern is that she finished far back in her next two races, losing by 41 3/4 lengths and 31 1/2 lengths. She spent five months on the sidelines and then ran a much better race when she finished second in a turf stakes at Gulfstream. She has trained well since that race and would be a prime contender if she continues to move forward.

Barracks Road might be the betting value. She avoided the winner's circle while settling for minor prizes most of the time in four starts as a 2-year-old. She ran much better when she returned from a break of nearly seven months and defeated 3-year-old and up maiden specials by 3 1/4 lengths in a six-furlong turf race. Her 1:09.02 final time in that race is fast enough to suggest that she will be a threat to repeat, despite the class jump.

I'll bet on Barracks Road to win, and I'll key her on top in the exacta over No Explaining, Worstcasescenario, Amazon Belle, and Platinum Exchange.