TORONTO, June 28, 2020 – Track announcer Robert Geller comments on some of the performances that caught his eye in this regular segment, highlighting horses to key in on for upcoming races at Woodbine.
EXCELLING (June 14, Race 4, No. 3, 2nd)
In what was a tough loss, first-time starter Excelling came from a stalking position early to grab the lead at the top of the stretch in a competitive maiden allowance over seven furlongs. The Ontario-bred daughter of Hard Spun from a Mr. Greeley dam showed plenty of polish to outshine all but one other runner in this 13-horse field. It took a late drive up the rail by the eventual winner Day Dayenu to collar Excelling, who went down fighting, beaten a neck with Second Grace a further neck away, finishing third. Excelling hails from one of the strongest barns on the grounds in that of Kevin Attard. She acquitted herself well in her debut and should be hard to beat next time out.
BARKIN (June 18, Race 8, No. 4, 2nd)
The only two first-time starters in the finale on this race day both went off at odds of 15-1 and finished one-two with Barkin, runner-up to Curlin’s Tiger, who assumed control into the first turn and was never headed. Barkin began to mount a steady rally from inside the 5/16ths, swinging wide before gaining significant ground on the winner down the home stretch, beaten a diminishing half-length. This was a forceful close to seven furlongs from the New York-bred three-year-old filly by Kentucky Derby-winning sire Animal Kingdom, who proved just as effective on the grass. Being out of a Dynaformer dam, Barkin is also bred for distance. Having tipped her hand in this debut, trainer Catherine Day Phillips should have the answer to the one remaining question mark. “Who let the dogs out? Woof!”
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