Thundering Blue can lower the boom on Canadian International field

The Grade I, $800,000 Canadian International is the feature event this Saturday at Woodbine. The race lives up to its name, as entrants from several different countries comprise the 11-horse field that’s tasked with a 1 1/2-mile journey on the turf course. Post time for the Canadian International, the ninth of 11 scheduled races, is 5:41 p.m. EST. In addition to watching and wagering, be sure to play along in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#2 THUNDERING BLUE (2-1, morning-line favorite) is in career form as he enters the Canadian International. He won the Group II York Stakes three-back and the Group III Stockholm Cup last time out, with a respectable third in the prestigious Group I Juddmonte International sandwiched in between. THUNDERING BLUE may even improve today as a first-time gelding. Based on his prior start, we know he can handle the Canadian International distance. Fran Berry, his regular rider, flies in for the call.

#7 ENGLISH ILLUSION (15-1) was a $45k claim just two months ago but has already paid dividends. He won the Halton Stakes two starts ago before rallying for third in the Grade I Northern Dancer. He might have been best in there but jockey Rafael Hernandez tried to time things perfectly and got pinched late. ENGLISH ILLUSION clearly relishes this distance (7-2-1-2) and is used to the Woodbine course (14-2-2-3), so he merits longshot consideration. Hernandez remains in the irons.

#9 JOHNNY BEAR (8-1) won the Northern Dancer over ENGLISH ILLUSION when last seen but dropped the decision in the Halton two-back. These foes seem evenly-matched, so the preference goes to the one that’s nearly twice the price on the morning-line. However, JOHNNY BEAR may get first run at the tiring frontrunners in this one. Luis Contreras keeps the assignment.

The play: $4 exacta 2/7,9, $2 win 7 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Both Irad and Jose Ortiz will be at Woodbine this Saturday, which should enable Manny Franco to have a huge day at Belmont Park. He rides in eight races there, and three of his mounts are favored. Franco’s stakes assignments are solid, as he’ll be aboard Tillie’s Lily (5-1) in the Floral Park and Significant Form (7-2) in the Pebbles.

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