Making Money Betting Frosted in the Woodward


By J. Keeler Johnson, courtesy of America's Best Racing

The Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Race Course has featured some memorable renewals over the last decade, with star horses and champions like Lawyer Ron, Curlin, Rachel Alexandra, Quality Road, Havre de Grace and Liam’s Map scoring impressive victories. The 2016 edition promises to be an exciting race as well, with the sensational Frosted (#3) being the star attraction in a field of nine horses.

Since the Woodward was moved to Saratoga in 2006, it has generally been dominated by horses coming out of the Saratoga’s Whitney Stakes one month prior. In fact, if you exclude the victories by Rachel Alexandra and Havre de Grace—two fillies that took atypical paths to the Woodward—six of the last eight Woodward winners came out of the Whitney, a powerful trend that could have special significance this year.

Somewhat surprisingly, Frosted is the only horse in the Woodward that ran in the Whitney, a race which he won easily after setting a fast pace. He’s always been a talented colt, and ran second behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Belmont Stakes, but Frosted has taken his performances to a new level this summer, winning the prestigious Metropolitan Handicap by 14 ¼ lengths in record time before following up with his Whitney triumph. He’s also shown a lot of versatility, winning with late runs from the middle of the pack and while leading all the way; given that the Woodward is almost always won by a horse racing on or near the lead, the front-running speed that Frosted showed in the Whitney could be valuable.

Basically, if Frosted brings his “A” game on Saturday, he should be very difficult to beat. Of course, he’ll also be the heavy favorite in the wagering, so to make a profit playing Frosted on top, we’ll have to try and make a big score by picking the correct horses to finish behind him in the exacta, trifecta, and superfecta.

One longshot that could have a big chance is Shaman Ghost (#1), who hasn’t run since finishing fifth in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park back in July. However, I felt that nothing went right for him that day—the pace was slow, favoring the leaders, and Shaman Ghost spent the entire race trapped along the rail, which might not have been the fastest part of the track that day. Since the Suburban, Shaman Ghost has turned in some sharp workouts on the Saratoga training track, and for the Woodward, he will be treated with Lasix for the first time, which could help his breathing. Best of all, his morning line odds are 12-1, an excellent price on a horse that could have a big chance to step up and finish second or third.

We’ll also use Mubtaahij (#9), who finished a solid third in the Suburban despite being at a disadvantage due to the slow pace; Bradester (#4), who is 3-for-3 this year with a win in the Stephen Foster Handicap being the highlight; and Breaking Lucky (#2), who ships in from Canada after defeating some talented rivals in the Seagram Cup at Woodbine.

Wagering Strategy A: Exactas ($20 budget)

$12 exacta: 3 with 9 ($12)

$8 exacta: 3 with 1 ($8)

Wagering Strategy B: Exactas and Trifectas ($25 budget)

$6.5 trifecta: 3 with 1,9 with 1,9 ($13)

$3 trifecta: 3 with 1,9 with 2,4 ($12)

Wagering Strategy C: Superfectas ($30 budget)

$4.50 superfecta: 3 with 1,9 with 1,9 with 2,4 ($18)

$1 superfecta: 3 with 1,9 with 1,2,4,9 with 1,2,4,9 ($12)

Good luck, and enjoy the race!