The Grade I, $750,000 Woodward Stakes is the headliner for this year’s final Saturday card at Saratoga. Breeders’ Cup Classic contender GUN RUNNER is matched up against just four others for this 1 1/8-mile test. Post time for the Woodward, the 11th of 12 races on the program, is 6:46 p.m. EST. Be sure to consider this race carefully if you’re playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#2 GUN RUNNER (2-5, morning-line favorite) was flawless in victory in last month’s Whitney Stakes despite a demanding pace. He was sent hard on the outside of rabbit Cautious Giant before drawing off and keeping Keen Ice in his rearview mirror. Florent Geroux will likely put GUN RUNNER on the lead again in a race devoid of early speed. With such an advantageous setup and relatively unproven competition, GUN RUNNER should waltz home in the Woodward.
#1 NEOLITHIC (6-1) makes his second start back since running a distant third in the Dubai World Cup. His first start back should have been a convincing win, but he had to work to win by a neck. However, that race was a little short for NEOLITHIC (seven furlongs) and he was seven-wide turning for home. He should be able to move forward off that win and is a logical contender off his prior form. Jose Ortiz picks up the mount for Todd Pletcher, who also sends out #3 RALLY CRY.
RALLY CRY (5-2) commands attention off his blowout win in the Alydar Stakes here last month. However, this is a big step up in class, and his last Grade I try (the Met Mile) was terrible. Despite this, John Velazquez sees fit to stay aboard, choosing RALLY CRY over NEOLITHIC. As a result, RALLY CRY is a must-use in the exotics.
The play: $5 trifecta 2/1,3/1,3 ($10)
DFJ analysis: John Velazquez has had a hot hand of late and should keep it going on Saturday. He rides in 10 races and has eight mounts priced at 9-2 or below. Four of those mounts are favored, including Pure Silver in the Grade I Spinaway. RALLY CRY and Harmonize give Velazquez good shots at hitting the board in the Woodward and Glens Falls, respectively.
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking