Expect formful results despite full field in Woodward

The historic Grade I, $750,000 Woodward Stakes highlights the final Saturday card of the year at Saratoga. A full field of 14 will contest this 1 1/8-mile event. The Woodward goes as Race 11 of 12; approximate post time is 6:47 p.m. EST. In addition to watching and wagering, don’t forget to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#9 GUNNEVERA (4-1, morning-line favorite) has yet to win a Grade I but carries some impressive credentials, particularly at Saratoga. At two, GUNNEVERA won the Saratoga Special, and at three, he placed in the Travers. The four-time stakes winner has also hit the board in both starts at 1 1/8-miles. The deep closer should have enough pace to work with, as #11 LEOFRIC will likely try to clear, while #14 RALLY CRY might also be used aggressively. #7 KURILOV and #12 SUNNY RIDGE may also be involved early. GUNNEVERA dusted a group of allowance horses at Gulfstream as a tune-up for the Woodward; Edgard Zayas has the call.

#10 SEEKING THE SOUL (9-2) won last year’s Grade I Clark but has had an uneven 2018. He was a distant fifth in the Pegasus World Cup before hitting the shelf until July. He only managed second in the Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Grand when last seen, but with the rust shaken off, a career-best effort is possible. SEEKING THE SOUL, to be ridden by Javier Castellano, already has a win at this course and distance.

#13 ZANOTTI (20-1) is a longshot to watch out for. He earned a lifetime-best speed figure while finishing second in the Monmouth Cup last time out. ZANOTTI has been unable to break through at the stakes level this year but has completed the exacta five out of six times. He’s never raced at Saratoga but has excelled at the Woodward distance, posting a 5-1-4-0 career record. Jose Lezcano will be aboard.

SUNNY RIDGE (8-1), like ZANOTTI, earned a career-best speed figure when last seen in the State Dinner at Belmont. He’s tough to toss as he’s hit the board in each of his last six starts on a fast track. Irad Ortiz Jr. should carve out a good tactical trip atop SUNNY RIDGE.

The play: $3 exacta box 9/10, $1 exacta 9,10/12,13 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Javier Castellano rides in 11 of Saratoga’s 12 Saturday races, and he did not sacrifice quality for quantity. He’ll have the call on four morning-line favorites before the stakes portion of the card arrives. Castellano’s day ends with Up the Ante (7-2) in the Saranac, Virginia Eloise (10-1) in the Spinaway, SEEKING THE SOUL (9-2) in the Woodward, and Onthemoonagain (3-1) in the Glens Falls. ITM results are probable in all four of those races.

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