05/27/2015 12:40PM

Woodwin W to get acid test in Penn Mile

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Justin N. Lane
Woodwin W wins the James Murphy Stakes, his fourth consecutive victory.

On Wednesday, a field of 11 was entered for the third running of the $500,000 Penn Mile at Penn National. The Saturday card will have a first post of 6 p.m. and is front-loaded with an all-stakes pick four to begin the program.

The favorites in the Penn Mile, which will be race 4, figure to be Papacoolpapacool (post 3) and Ocho Ocho Ocho (post 4), who have shipped in from California, and Night Prowler (post 6), the winner of the Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland and the Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Night Prowler’s trainer, Chad Brown, won this race a year ago with Bobby’s Kitten.

:: Penn Mile: Watch live video of Saturday’s card from Penn National

Papacoolpapacool will be ridden by Elvis Trujillo, Ocho Ocho Ocho has Mike Smith, and Javier Castellano is named on Night Prowler.

Farther down the Penn Mile pecking order is the undefeated, bargain-basement special Woodwin W, who drew post 2 for trainer Jamie Ness. Woodwin W notched his fourth straight win in the $100,000 James Murphy Stakes on the turf at Pimlico on Preakness Day.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a horse start out 4 for 4 and win a stakes like this guy,” Ness said.

Woodwin W is owner Woody Weeks’s first horse. Weeks owns Weeks Auction Co. in Ocala, Fla., which sells heavy equipment and trucks. He purchased Woodwin W last October at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s mixed sale for $12,500 and turned him over to Ness, who led the trainers’ standings at Tampa Bay Downs this winter.

“This horse just kind of slipped through the cracks,” Ness said. “He was originally named Prod, but Mr. Weeks renamed him after his father, Woodwin Weeks.”

Prior to the James Murphy Stakes, Woodwin W had won a Tampa Bay maiden race, a Gulfstream Park optional-starter race, and a Pimlico allowance. He has earned $114,000.

In the one-mile Murphy, Woodwin W relaxed off the early pace, took the lead four wide in upper stretch, then held off a troubled Force the Pass, who also will run in the Penn Mile. Woodwin W was timed in 1:34.32.

“He’s improved every race for us,” Ness said. “I’m excited.”

The Penn Mile field, in post-position order, is: Granny’s Kitten, Woodwin W, Papacoolpapacool, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Comanche’s Storm, Night Prowler, High Noon Rider, Force the Pass, My Point Exactly, Tuba, and Gallery.

In other Saturday stakes at Penn National:

◗ Mountainview Handicap, 1 1/8 miles, race 3: The field of 11 includes Albano, Kid Cruz, Cousin Stephen, Golden Lad, Street Babe, and East Hall.

◗ Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, five furlongs on turf, race 2: Ben’s Cat, Bold Thunder, Amelia’s Wild Ride, and Grateful Nation will be rematched in a field of seven.

◗ Penn Oaks, one mile on turf, race 1: Edgewood Stakes runner-up Quality Rocks, West Coast shipper Prize Exhibit, Honey Ryder Stakes winner Red Sashay, and Strict Compliance top a field of eight.