Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York will be a busy place this Saturday, April 6 with five graded stakes races on the card. The biggest of which is the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes for three year old Kentucky Derby hopefuls. A nice purse of $1 million will be on the line as will 100-40-20-10 points toward qualification into the Kentucky Derby for the first through fourth place finishers, as three year olds race 1 1/8 miles on Aqueduct's main track.

A field of 10 has been confirmed for the Wood Memorial - race 11 on Aqueduct's stacked Saturday card. Post time is 6:28 PM. Here is a brief glance into the credentials of all 10 entries for this important Grade 1 stakes, two of which have created a lot of buzz. Either Verrazano or Vyjack will taste defeat for the first time Saturday while others desperately clamber for the allotted points in what should be an intriguing race.

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2013 Wood Memorial Stakes Race Favorites

Verrazano - Todd Pletcher trained colt made his stakes debut with an impressive score last time out with 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 9 after two starts and two more wins - an impressive Allowance Optional Claiming by 16 3/4 lengths at Gulfstream February 2 with a Beyer Speed figure of 105 and a MSW score by 7 3/4 lengths in his debut January 1 also at Gulfstream. He hasn't been touched in his three starts and is the morning line favorite Saturday.

Vyjack - has four career starts but has won all on this track - a Maiden Special Weight in his career debut November, the Traskwood Stakes December 9, the Grade 2 Jerome Stakes over Siete de Oros January 5 and last time out in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes March 2. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez has a real Derby contender on his hands - it will be interesting to see if Vyjack can keep his roll going Saturday.

Wood Memorial Stakes 2013 | Remaining Field Entries

Normandy Invasion - Chad Brown pupil has four career starts with a win in a Maiden Special Weight race here November 2 to follow a fifth in his debut September 15 at Belmont Park. His last two races have been of the graded stakes variety. He was a nice second two back in the Grade 2 Remsen here in November but was a disappointing fifth last time out in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds February 23. He absolutely needs a good result here and may be the best option of the non-favorites in the race.

Mr. Palmer - enters the Wood Memorial on a two race win streak for trainer Bill Mott - the minor Private Terms Stakes last time out at Laurel Park March 9 and a MSW before that on this track February 17. He has those two wins, a second and a third place finish in seven career starts - all of those results coming in his last four starts. Mr. Palmer will likely need a first or second place finish to qualify for the Run for the Roses so he has absolutely nothing to lose.

Elnaawi - Kiaran McLaughlin trainee has three career starts with an OK third last time out in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes here March 2, a MSW win January and a third place finish in a MSW December 8. He is in that group that could qualify with a second or third place finish - a fifth will likely spell his demise.

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Always In A Tiz - is coming off a fifth in his graded stakes debut at the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Before that was a third in the minor Smarty Jones Stakes behind Will Take Charge, a decent second in the Traskwood Stakes and a MSW score in his career debut at Saratoga in September. He will wear blinkers for the first time and have the benefit of experienced rider Calvin Borel.

Freedom Child - makes his stakes debut Saturday after four MSW races. Last time out he broke maiden in wire-to-wire fashion by 5 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream March 10 after a third, a second and an eighth respectively to start his career.

Chrisandthecapper - has four starts in his career all MSW races. He is coming off a win March 9 by 11 1/2 lengths on this track to follow a pair of seconds at Calder and Monmouth respectively. His other result was a fifth in his debut in July at Monmouth Park.

Go Get the Basil - will make his stakes debut Saturday after six career starts. He had a three race win streak in the winter snapped last time out with a decent second and a 94 Beyer Speed Figure in an Allowance Optional Claiming here March 7.

Quinzieme Monarque - has six career starts for trainer Thomas Albertini and has finished fourth in five of those starts including the last three graded stakes races - the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes last time out at Gulfstream, the Grade 2 Remsen in November here and the Grade 3 Pilgrim at Belmont Park in November. He did have a MSW score before that but fourth place seems to be where this colt can be expected to finish!

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