Tough Woodward Field Despite Scratches

Category : News - Fri 30/08/2013 - 14:39 EDT

Despite two big scratches, the Grade I $1,000,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday will still feature an excellent, though slightly smaller, field. Initially eight of the country's top thoroughbreds […]

Despite two big scratches, the Grade I $1,000,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday will still feature an excellent, though slightly smaller, field. Initially eight of the country's top thoroughbreds were expected to go to the gate, but on Wednesday the connections for Whitney Handicap winner Cross Traffic announced they were taking him out of the race in favor of the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in late September. On Thursday, trainer Ian Wilkes said he was scratching 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic champ Fort Larned due to injury.

Question as to who wants to go to front

That leaves six to battle it out in what should be a wide-open affair. With the loss of Fort Larned, setting the early pace will likely fall to Paynter, who finished second in last year’s Belmont Stakes before going on to capture the Haskell Invitational. More recently he finished second to Kettle Corn in a hard-fought battle in the San Diego Handicap in July. Joining him up front could very well be Mucho Macho Man, who finished second to Fort Larned in the 2012 BC Classic, and ran third in the 2013 Whitney.

Several Whitney runners in for another try

Others coming out of the Whitney to try for the Woodward winners’ circle are Successful Dan, who has only been out of the money twice in fourteen career starts, and Ron the Greek, who will be expected to make his best run late and so will be hoping for a speed duel to develop up front. Also on the Saratoga Saturday card are the seven-furlong Grade I Forego Handicap for three year olds and up, and the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap, also for those three and up going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

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