November 27, 2020

Mucciolo faces new but exciting challenge as Woodbine handicapper

by JOHN MUCCIOLO

I have taken my handicapping skills to Woodbine, delivering Daily Selections at Brisnet.com since the start of the meet on April 15. The racing and overall stock of the breed has improved in recent years, with some fine runners and stables being represented locally.

The first five cards have seen some smaller fields, but that will change as the spring carries into the summer and I am enjoying the challenge that is Woodbine.

The Mark Casse barn, as expected, is off to a fine start with four winners through Sunday. A trio of conditioners – Norman McKnight, Michael De Paulo, Vito Armata – have also gotten off on the right foot with three winners each.

The early jockeys’ race is topped by Eurico da Silva, who has recorded eight wins and piloted 22-of-28 starters to top three finishes. Rafael Hernandez has been pretty busy in the stirrups and sits second with seven winners from 35 mounts.

I pay close attention each day to try and get a feel for how the All-Weather surface is playing. Closing types surely have had a chance sprinting on the Tapeta, performing well early this meeting

From a selections standpoint, I am pleased with a 34% win rate through Sunday, selecting five winners on top twice so far. My selections have generated an overall $94.60 return from 47 races, which is basically a wash.

What has made this most challenging right now is the abundance of horses coming off of layoffs since the fall, or even the summer. But I am learning which barns have had their horses ready and look forward to seeing many of these runners come back next time.

I am starting to get a better gauge and more confidence in my handicapping and picks at Woodbine, which is currently racing on a Friday-Sunday schedule. Wednesdays will be added beginning May 17.

Best of luck if you are playing the races North of the Border!

Woodbine is one of two new tracks added to the Daily Selections page along with Indiana Grand, which Scott Shapiro handicaps