March 31, 2023

Yoshida faces eight in Woodward title defense

Yoshida winning the 2018 Woodward (G1) (c) Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography

After turning things around with a rallying second in the Whitney (G1), Yoshida will seek a repeat victory in Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga. The multiple Grade 1 winner heads a field of nine in the 1 1/8-mile race and Joel Rosario rides the late runner for Bill Mott.

Yoshida posted a two-length score in last year’s Woodward and followed with a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs. Campaigned by China Horse Racing Club International and WinStar Farm, the Japanese-bred son of Heart’s Cry opened his five-year-old season with three consecutive sixth-place finishes in major races (Pegasus World Cup Turf, Dubai World Cup and Stephen Foster). Yoshida gave an excellent account of himself last time, finishing a clear second to the probable Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite, and won’t have to face the likes of McKinzie while entering the Woodward on the upswing.

Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) winner and Whitney third-placer Vino Rosso merits respect for Todd Pletcher. The four-year-old Curlin colt will get blinkers off and shows a bullet five-furlong work in preparation. John Velazquez, who counted the Travers (G1) among his three wins last Saturday, retains the mount. Pletcher will also send out Bal Harbour, second in the Monmouth Cup (G3) and Philip Iselin (G3) in his last two starts.

Tom’s d’Etat exits a nice tally in the restricted Alydar over the track. Third in the Stephen Foster (G2) and second in the Alysheba (G2), the Al Stall Jr. trainee possesses good tactical speed and adds Irad Ortiz Jr. Suburban (G2) winner Preservationist will try to rebound from a disappointing fourth in the Whitney. Junior Alvarado has the call for Jimmy Jerkens.

Mongolian Groom invades from California after finishing third in the Pacific Classic (G1) two weeks earlier. Luis Saez picks up the mount for Enebish Ganbat. Mr. Buff steps up to face open rivals after a pair of convincing wins over New York-bred rivals in the Evan Shipman and Saginaw. A pair of expected longshots, Forewarned and Wooderson, complete the field.

A trio of supporting graded stakes will be offered on the undercard.

One race prior to the Woodward, Chad Brown is responsible for the uncoupled trio of Fools Gold, Night of England and Santa Monica in the $250,000 Glens Falls (G2). A total of nine distaffers, including a main-track only runner, are entered for the 1 3/8-mile affair on the inner turf and Fools Gold exits a win in the August 4 Waya (G3) over the course. Santa Monica finished third in the same race as the favorite and German Group 1 runner-up Night of England will make her third start stateside after a pair of unplaced efforts.

The $250,000 Prioress (G2), a six-furlong event for three-year-old fillies, kicks off the stakes action and Grade 2 vixen Break Even will put her unbeaten record on the line against five rivals. A smashing 5 1/2-length winner of the Eight Belles (G2) three back, the daughter of Country Day followed with a win in the Jersey Girl at Belmont Park and goes turf-to-dirt following a wire-to-wire score in the July 14 Coronation Cup at Saratoga. Shaun Bridgmohan guides front-runner for Brad Cox.

The $200,000 Saranac (G3) matches six three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf, and stakes winner and Penine Ridge (G3) runner-up Seismic Wave looks like the probable favorite for Mott and Rosario.