The Grade I Pattison Canadian International Stakes is the feature race at Woodbine on Sunday afternoon. A field of nine will vie for a $1 million purse going 1 1/2-miles on turf. It appears the European shippers have the edge in this race, but we’ll take a closer look and see if a North American runner has a shot at the upset. The Canadian International is Race 9 on the program, and the estimated post time is 5:40 p.m. EST. Don’t forget to play along in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#3 IDAHO was installed as the 5-2 favorite despite being the lone three-year-old in the race. World-class trainer Aiden O’Brien ships this one into Toronto and names go-to pilot Ryan Moore to ride. IDAHO will try to recover from a stumble in the Doncaster St. Ledger in which he lost the rider in the homestretch. He must be doing well enough for O’Brien to enter him back on less than one month’s notice.
IDAHO would probably have more than two wins to his name if was able to avoid Harzand, who beat him three times in group races this year. IDAHO was able to win at this distance two starts ago when he avoided Harzand in a Group II at York. Today he gets a weight allowance and adds Lasix for the first time, so he’s a serious contender. O’Brien looks for his first win in the Canadian International with IDAHO, while Moore seeks an incredible fourth straight win in the event.
#5 DARTMOUTH (7-2), owned by Queen Elizabeth II, is the other European runner to respect here. He’s 3-for-6 at the distance for Sir Michael Stoute (who assigns William Buick to ride while adding Lasix) and has three stakes wins to his credit in 2016. His best win of the year came over soft going at Ascot against the well-thought-of Highland Reel, so he may have the advantage over IDAHO should the course come up wet.
The best of the North American contingent all exit the Grade I Northern Dancer Stakes held last month at Woodbine. #4 THE PIZZA MAN (8-1) out-gamed #6 WAKE FOREST (10-1) and #2 WORLD APPROVAL (10-1) that day, but WAKE FOREST seemed to run the best race. He had to close into a laughably slow pace set by WORLD APPROVAL, while THE PIZZA MAN was within a length of the leader most of the way. WAKE FOREST will not retain Irad Ortiz, but will have a fine substitute in Javier Castellano.
The play: $4 exacta box 3/5, $2 exacta 3,5/6 ($12)
DFJ analysis: Irad Ortiz ($11,500) doesn’t make the trip north this Sunday, but it will be ‘home sweet home’ for him at Belmont. He has a mount in all nine races there, including Spirituality in the Grade III Matron Stakes. He should have a big day with some of his chief competitors on the road at either Woodbine or Keeneland.
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking