The 118th edition of the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday, Nov. 5 offers a fat purse of $175,000 and the 1 1/16 mile race on the Tapeta main track has lured the current leader of the older horse division in Canada, TYSON.
Eight of the last 10 winners of the Autumn went on to win the Sovereign Award as Champion Older Male/Main Track in Canada and Tyson likely has that award for 2023 wrapped up, no matter what the result this weekend. The grey 4-year-old colt trained by Josie Carroll will be heavily favoured in the Autumn, but there is another fellow in the field who could fashion the upset.
Tyson (#1) , a son of world-class sire Tapit, burst on to the Woodbine scene in May after a one-year absence. He won that optional allowance race and then had a troubled third-place finish in the Eclipse Stakes, won by his stablemate Treason.
Tyson and jockey Rafael Hernandez formed a powerful partnership on July 1 and turned the tables on Treason in the 1 1/8 mile Dominion Day Stakes (G3), coming from off the pace. They doubled up in the Seagram Cup (G2), setting a very slow pace and stealing away to defeat five rivals.
The colt’s interests elected to try him against some of the better older horses in New York and no doubt were pleased when he landed third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga behind two colts who were in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Saturday at Santa Anita.
The results were not as good in the Grade 2 Woodward at Aqueduct on Oct. 1 when the colt had a very wide trip and chased a hot pace to finish sixth.
Tyson has had two workouts at Woodbine getting ready for the Autumn and he is back on Lasix.
The 5-year-old gelding WAR BOMBER (Ire) (#4) rates a long look as he returns to the main track following four straight turf races, including a victory in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes, over the aforementioned Treason.
War Bomber was second in last year’s Autumn Stakes, by just half a length, to eventual older male champion Who’s the Star. Earlier in the season he won the Seagram over Artie’s Storm, who is also in this year’s Autumn field.
But this year, War Bomber appears to be an even better runner, having followed up his King Edward win with a fourth-place finish in the Woodbine Mile (G1).
Trainer Norm McKnight elected to try and shorten War Bomber up to just six furlongs for his latest, the Nearctic Stakes on yielding grass. The son of War Front was shuffled far back in the field early as the pace was hot but he did well to come charging into contention by the finish; he was eighth but just three-quarters of a length behind winner Big Invasion.
His strong Beyer Speed Figures (from Daily Racing Form), 96, 87, 99, 95, from his turf outings should transfer over to this longer race on the Tapeta.
How will the race set up?
American invader Wolfie’s Dynaghost returns to Woodbine after he set the pace in the Durham Cup (G3) on Oct. 7, a race won by Artie’s Storm. ‘Wolfie’ is 3-for-6 at the distance on the synthetic tracks and his speed always makes him a consideration. He might have some company this weekend, however, in the form of a fresh Win for the Money from the Mark Casse barn. Off since August when he raced in the Grade 1 Arlington Million on turf, Win for the Money was on or close to the pace in two straight wins on grass before his latest. War Bomber will not be far behind. He has natural speed and has won sprinting and routing on or near the pace.
Canadian racing’s biggest story on the human side has been that of Sahin Civaci, who has risen to near the top of the rider’s standings in a matter of months. Civaci was War Bomber’s regular rider in 2022 and rejoins the bay gelding for this weekend’s test. The rider has 13 stakes wins this season, eight of them graded.
I see Civaci being able to get the jump on Tyson with War Bomber and making the favourite try to run him down in the late stages.
Since Tyson will be even-money, perhaps lower, anything at 5-to-2 or higher on War Bomber is a nice price. He will also offer some value in Pick 3, 4 and 5 wagers, as many players may elect to key Tyson.
Autumn Stakes play:
$10 to win on #4 War Bomber
$5 box #1 Tyson and #4 War Bomber
Good luck with your wagers!