TORONTO, July 16, 2019 – Each week, track announcer Robert Geller comments on some of the performances that caught his eye, highlighting horses to key in on for upcoming races at Woodbine.
JUSTLEAVEITALONE (Saturday, July 6, Race 8, No. 2, 2nd)
Before getting too concerned about how short a price Justleaveitalone may be next out, let’s not take anything away from what a promising second-place finish she was to Fast Scene in the My Dear Stakes. After a markedly slow start, she sailed between openings to improve position from the tail end, angling out from the turn to chase home the winner. The four-length margin of defeat needs be put in the context of a poor break and being forced to play catch up against a speedy, undefeated filly. An Ontario-bred, first-time starter by Creative Cause from an El Prado dam, Justleaveitalone still wound up two and a half lengths ahead of third0place Copper Gem and was doing her best work by the end of the 5-1/2 furlong contest. If trainer Nick Gonzalez opts to next enter her in another stakes race, she will offer better value than if in a maiden special weight.
STRIKE THE FLAG (Sunday, July 7, Race 11, No. 1, 2nd)
In what turned out to be as contentious race as it appeared on paper, the Gail Cox-trained Strike the Flag ran a mighty good second at a mile and a sixteen on the E.P. Taylor turf to Artistico, the winner having closed from last to first. Returning to Woodbine off a seven-week layoff after a spring campaign in Kentucky, Strike the Flag seemed comfortable early on, settling mid-pack in the 13-horse field. Desperate for a run in upper stretch, jockey Rafael Hernandez managed to angle out through the pack, running by both Cooler Mike and Siding Spring, a weakening third and fourth, respectively. Traffic issues aside, this was a most encouraging effort by the Sam-Son five-year-old who has previously won over the course at a mile and a quarter. The inside post position and the proven talent of the winner may have cost Strike the Flag this time but next out could well be a different story.
Follow Geller on Twitter @WoodbineGeller for more insights on racing at Woodbine.