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Natalma and Summer Stakes Preview

Woodbine will run the Natalma and Summer Stakes today for juveniles on the turf and each race features an impressive entry from the barn of Todd Pletcher. 

Here's a quick preview of the top contenders in each race.

Natalma Stakes

1-Roxy Gap (7/5) has done nothing wrong in winning the first three races of her career, the last one a gate-to-wire score against allowance company at Woodbine back on August 21st.  Her front end speed should continue to play well on Woodbine's big, sweeping turf course.

Todd Pletcher ships in 7-More Than Real (2/1) a More Than Ready filly that has a lone maiden score at Saratoga to her credit.  I really like the way this filly sat just of the pace in her debut effort, even though the fractions on the front end were fairly pedestrian.  She should get a much quicker pace in this race, so I wouldn't be surprised to see her a bit farther back, but with her devastating late kick (28.86 final 3/16ths in her debut) she should have every opportunity for the win.

If the top two were to throw in clunkers then the 4-Sheba's Secret (9/2) would make sense as possibility to bring home the score.  Sheba's Secret was second to Roxy Gap in her last race  Jockey Chantal Sutherland and trainer Roger Attfield do a whole lot of winnin' at Woodbine when paired up (29% $2.31 ROI).

It's chalky, but More Than Real looks like the likely winner in this race.

Summer Stakes

Todd Pletcher has another live runner in the Summer Stakes with 4-Pluck (2/1), runner-up by a neck in the Continental Mile at Monmouth Park last time out.  The internal splits for Pluck were just beautiful in that race as he went 23.94, 24.59, 23.46, and 23.42 over the mile distance.  This colt has some great cruising speed and would be tough to beat if he runs back to that Monmouth form.

 7-Ronin Dax (10/1) is a Del Mar shipper coming into this race off of a lone maiden score back on August 25th.  The second place horse from that maiden race, Acaffella, came back to win his next start in the listed Angle Island Stakes by six lengths and post an 81 BSF in the process.  This colt could be a sleeper at a bit price.

5-Stormy Rush (5/2) is one of the top local entries in this race after scoring against allowance company at six furlongs on August 12th.  The stretch-out to a mile shouldn't be a problem but I wonder if this colt is going to get a bit too much to handle on the front end of this race.  In that last race, Stormy Rush was slowing down pretty good in the final two furlongs (12.51 and 13.06 on the Poly) and he'll likely face as much if not more heat early in this spot.  Seems a bit of a tough play at 5/2.

George Weaver's 8-Forum (3/1) looked incredibly professional when he broke his maiden at Saratoga on August 28th.  He stalked the early speed in that mile and a sixteenth race and then blew by the leaders in the lane with a powerful finishing kick (28.65 final 3/16ths).  He'll probably go off at a better price than the Pletcher colt and could be the value play of the field.