2022 Grey Stakes Odds & Mazarine Stakes Picks

Two-year-olds are in the spotlight at Woodbine on Saturday, with the G3 2022 Grey Stakes and the G3 Mazarine both featuring a strong home defence against promising raiders from below the border.

However, very unusual circumstances have made these two races practically impossible to preview with confidence, as trainer Mark Casse has entered the same three horses for both races and at time of writing there is no information regarding likely running plans.

It’s perfectly legal and Casse is entitled to do the best for his owners, but it has left both the Grey and the Mazarine in a state of complete flux and both races will in any event have disappointingly short fields. Both races are previewed as though all runners stand their ground, even though that cannot be the case, and bettors must watch out for the three scratches that will inevitably occur.

Grey Stakes

G3, $150,000, 1m 1/16 all-weather, 2yo, 2.22pm ET

The Grey is one of the major events in the Canadian two-year-old calendar, but Saturday’s edition at Woodbine lacks the quality of previous renewals and the expected short field adds to the low-key feel of the contest.

The sole stakes-winner in the field is the unbeaten Hal (9-5), who has won both his races here over seven furlongs on the Polytrack surface. He was well on top at the wire when getting home by a length and a quarter on debut, and then showed both class and tenacity on his stakes debut, duelling down the stretch to prevail by a half-length with the third horse four and three-quarter lengths further back. Stretching out shouldn’t be an issue.

One Bay Hemingway (15-1) was still a maiden when making his stakes debut here over seven furlongs on turf, and outran his longshot odds when runner-up, beaten two and a half lengths. He got off the mark next time out here over the turf mile when scrambling home by a head, with the first two almost ten lengths clear of the third horse. Now he returns to the synthetic surface on which he made his first two starts and rates a big threat.

It’s a similar profile to Mo Tourist (8-1), well beaten in a stakes here over six and a half furlongs before romping in a maiden over course and distance, going gate-to-wire and clearing right away to win by five and a half lengths. With his stamina proven, he could be a handful if allowed to set the fractions again – he’s the only horse going Lasix-free here.

Southern raider Bluebirds Over (7-2) goes straight into Graded company off a debut success on the all-weather track at Gulfstream Park, when he made most of the running and hauled off in the stretch to score by eight lengths. The value of the bare form is debatable, but it’s probably better than Canadian maiden form and the manner of his victory hints at potential.

Mark Casse – a five-time winner of this race – has entered three fillies against the males with Ryder Ryder Ryder (10-1) possibly the pick despite her odds, having made a successful debut here over seven furlongs when finishing off her race well. She was favourite first time up so must have been showing plenty at home.

Her barnmates took much longer to make an impact, Forever Dixie (5-2) getting her head in front at the fourth time of asking here over seven furlongs, beating barnmate and subsequent easy course-and-distance maiden winner Renegade Rebel (6-1) by three-quarters of a length. She then acquitted herself well in a seven-furlong stakes here, runner-up beaten just three-quarters of a length when doing all her best work late, indicating that today’s extra yardage may be a positive.

2022 Grey Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

HORSEJOCKEYODDS BY JAZZSPORTS
Mo TouristRafael Manuel Hernandez+800
Renegade RebelKazushi Kimura+600
One Bay HemingwayJose Luis Campos+1500
Bluebirds OverEdgard J. Zayas+350
HalJustin Stein+180
Forever DixiePatrick Husbands+250
Ryder Ryder RyderPatrick Husbands+1000

Hal has a local stakes win to his name but it may be wiser to trust US form, with BLUEBIRDS OVER an eight-length debut winner and almost certain to make improvement.

Mazarine Stakes

G3, $150,000, 1m 1/16 all-weather, 2yo fillies, 5.51pm ET

As mentioned above, trainer Mark Casse has set everyone a puzzle by entering the same three fillies in the Grey and the Mazarine, a race he has won a record eight times.

In a field without a winner at stakes level, the way is open for someone to step up, and despite her odds the pick of Casse’s trio is arguably Ryder Ryder Ryder (8-1), who made a successful debut here over seven furlongs when finishing off her race well. She was favourite first time up so must have been showing plenty at home.

Her barnmates took much longer to make an impact, Forever Dixie (2-1) getting her head in front at the fourth time of asking here over seven furlongs, beating barnmate and subsequent easy course-and-distance maiden winner Renegade Rebel (3-1) by three-quarters of a length.

She then acquitted herself well in a seven-furlong stakes here, runner-up beaten just three-quarters of a length when doing all her best work late, indicating that today’s extra yardage may be a positive. Six-furlong maiden winner Collect Dattt (20-1) was three and a half lengths back in sixth and is one of two fillies running Lasix-free today.

The other is State Of Mind (8-1), who very unusually made her debut in a stakes race and quite understandably made little impact. She gave a much better account of herself when winning a maiden next time out here over the extended mile, grinding it out in a frantic finish to get home by a head, and should improve.

Two raiders from below the border add a dash of spice and class to the equation, and both get Lasix for the first time. Honor D Lady (5-2) – a barnmate of Grey runner Bluebirds Over – was mighty impressive when breaking her maiden over a mile-sixteenth on the synthetic surface at Gulfstream Park, barrelling away to win by seven and a half lengths.

With her aptitude for the distance and surface proven she will be a danger to all, and so will Churchill Downs mile maiden winner Peacock Lass (6-1), who then moved into stakes company and acquitted herself well over a mile-sixteenth, again under the twin spires.

She came home fourth, beaten a long way by the potentially high-class Hoosier Philly – runs in the G2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs on Saturday – but only a length and a half behind the runner-up. She is a likely pace angle and Justin Stein is an eyecatching jockey booking, although there’s always a query about a surface switch.

Mazarine Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

HORSEJOCKEYODDS BY JAZZSPORTS
Collect DatttLeo Salles+2000
Forever DixiePatrick Husbands+200
Renegade RebelRafael Manuel Hernandez+300
State of MindLuis Contreras+800
Peacock LassJustin Stein+600
Honor D LadyEdgard J. Zayas+250
Ryder Ryder RyderPatrick Husbands+800

This can go for export too, with PEACOCK LASS showing plenty of promise on her stakes debut behind a star name and likely to find this an easier task.

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