Norther Dancer Turf Stakes
The Grade I Northern Dancer Stakes will conclude an excellent demonstration of top-class racing Sat, Sept.15 at Woodbine, but more to the heart of the matter, this race is an excellent betting challenge with supreme value to be had.
The 10-horse field will go a mile and a half in a race that looks like it could be won by no fewer than 7 of the contestants. Always a key prep for the Breeders’ Cup turf, this renewal of the Northern Dancer provides an exciting night cap to a brilliant day of racing in the Great White North.
Let’s meet the field:
- 1-Mekhtaal 7/2
- 2-Markitoff 30/1
- 3-Utmost 4/1
- 4-Johnny Bear 8/1
- 5-Hawkbill 2/1
- 6-Tiz a Slam 6/1
- 7-Vexatious 30/1
- 8-Seeking Albert 20/1
- 9-English Illusion 20/1
- 10-Patterson Cross 10/1
Betting odds and value explained
With so little separting the key contenders in this field, it seems foolish to take a short price, as it always is in this game. While I don’t see any elite runners in this field, I like the work Utmost put in winning the Grade 2 Sky Classic over this course Aug.19. His ability to stay close to the pace should come in handy here against what should be slow early fractions.
I really like the way Patterson Cross has been prepped and spotted for this race by Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott. The five year-old was entered last week for a minor stakes at Kentucky Downs, but didn’t draw in from the also-eligible list and was likely pointed to this race all along. His ability to track and close should once again play well here, but he’ll need a little racing luck. I like his chances at a nice price.
Mekhtaal came back nicely in his second start off a long layoff to run second July 22 in the Grade 2 Nijinsky. He should improve and will be tough if that’s the case. Ace turf trainer Graham Motion connects with 20% of his horses returning to make their second start off 31-60 day layoffs and this guy should be ready to show his best stuff.
Picking winners and making money
Just about anyone could run second in this field, and that’s where I’d put the chances of Johnny Bear (8/1) and favorite Hawkbill (2/1) at best. On top, I prefer taking a shot with a horse like Patterson Cross. This race is no slam dunk for anyone, so let’s reach for a bit of value.
- 1st: Patterson Cross
- 2nd: Utmost
- 3rd: Mekhtaal
- 4th: Hawkbill