Las Vegas, NV - Aqueduct in Queens, New York will be scene of one of the two important qualifying races toward the Kentucky Derby this Saturday, April 5 when the Wood Memorial is contested. Some of the best three year olds in the land will be after the winner's share of the $1 million purse and the valuable 100 points that goes along with it when they go 1 1/8 miles on Aqueduct's main track.
A field of 11 Kentucky Derby hopefuls will line up in the Wood Memorial - race 10 on Aqueduct's packed Saturday card. Post time is 5:40 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all 11 entries for this important "Road to the Kentucky Derby" Grade 1 stakes.
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2014 Wood Memorial Race Favorite Entries
Social Inclusion - highly regarded Manuel Azpurua trained colt makes his stakes debut Saturday having won both of his career starts. Last time out was an Allowance score over Remsen winner Honor Code in track record time at Gulfstream March 12 - by 10 lengths after breaking maiden February 22 also on that track. He has the highest Beyer Speed Figure (111) of any 3-year-old racing so far this season. Despite the lack of experience Social Inclusion is the 2-1 morning line favorite for the Wood Memorial. He leaves from the far outside post with Luis Contreras in the saddle.
Samraat - Richard Violette trained New York bred colt will try to remain perfect in his career. He has four starts and four wins - last time out over Uncle Sigh in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes here February 1, before that in his stakes debut - the listed Damon Runyon Stakes by an astounding 16 3/4 lengths here December 18, an Allowance score on this track November 22 and a MSW by 3 1/2 lengths score in his debut at Belmont Park in October. Samraat is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line and will leave from gate 8 with Jose Ortiz aboard.
Wood Memorial 2014 | Remaining Contenders
Uncle Sigh - another New York bred will race for the fourth time for trainer Gary Contessa - all previous starts coming on this track. He finished a good second behind Samraat in the Grade 3 Withers last time out here February 1 after breaking maiden December 27 by an incredible 14 1/2 lengths and a second in his debut - another MSW December 7. Uncle Sigh goes off at 5-1 odds with Corey Nakatani in the reins from post 10.
Kristo - made his stakes debut January 11 for trainer John Sadler and finished a very good second behind Midnight Hawk in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes and followed that with a decent third behind the terrific California Chrome in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita March 8. Prior to his stakes experience Kristo placed in all three of his career starts. He broke maiden by 6 3/4 lengths here October 30 after a pair of seconds in similar races this summer. He now has a win, three seconds and a third place finish in five career starts and should be right in the mix again Saturday. Martin Garcia gets the call from post 6 as Kisto is sent off at 6-1 odds.
Wood Memorial betting at Aqueduct with OffTrackBetting.com
Harpoon - Todd Pletcher trained colt raced in stakes company for the first time February 1 and finished a good second in the Grade 3 Sam F Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and followed that with a disappointing career-worst effort last time out - a fifth in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes here March 1. He looked good in his four career starts prior to that. He broke maiden by 5 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream December 26 after finishing second in his three previous MSW starts - one of those seconds coming behind the very impressive Cairo Prince. Harpoon will have John Velazquez guiding him from post 4 at 8-1 odds.
Noble Moon - most recently posted an impressive win in the Grade 2 Jerome Stakes on this track January 4 after he finished third behind Cairo Prince after getting bumped at the start in the one mile Grade 2 Nashua Stakes here November 3. His debut was a 6 furlong MSW score by three quarters of a length in his debut at Belmont Park September 14. Noble Moon has two wins and a third place finish in three career starts and rides some momentum into the Wood Memorial. Irad Ortiz has the mount from post 3 at 12-1 odds.
Schivarelli - Eddie Kenneally trained colt races in stakes company for the first time Saturday having won both of his career starts - an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out February 22 on this track and a maiden score in his debut also here January 13. He leaves from post 7 at 15-1 odds. Javier Castellano gets the call.
Wicked Strong - had a respectable third behind Honor Code and Cairo Prince in the Grade 2 Remsen after a MSW score at Belmont Park in his second career start. His last two efforts haven't been all that great however - a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream February 22 followed a disappointing ninth in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes January 25. He has placed in three of five career starts - his lone blemishes have come in his last two starts overall. Wicked Strong goes off at 15-1 odds and will have Rajiv Maragh in the saddle.
Kid Cruz - Linda Rice trainee is coming off a win in his stakes debut - the minor Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park March 8 after a second in an Allowance and a Maiden Claiming score on this track November 22. He has two wins and a second in four career starts and looks decent ahead of his graded stakes debut. Kid Cruz is 20-1 on the morning line and departs from the rail with Manuel Franco aboard
Los Borrachos - legendary trainer Bill Mott sends out Les Borrachos for his stakes debut Saturday. He broke maiden last time out in his fourth career start on this track March 8 after a second February 6 at Santa Anita in a MSW, a fourth and a fifth respectively in similar races this past winter. He has improved every time out but makes a huge step up in competition Saturday. Los Borrachos goes off at 30-1 odds and will have Cornelio Velazquez guiding him from post 5.
Effinex - has three career starts for trainer David Smith - two straight wins ahead of this weekend. Last time out was an Allowance Optional Claiming score here March 23 after breaking maiden also on this track March 1 and a fifth in his debut February 9. He makes an enormous leap up in competition but looks ready on the heels of two straight wins. Effinex is the longest shot in the field at 50-1 and will leave from gate 9.
2014 Wood Memorial Entries & Odds
Race 10 on Aqueduct Racetrack's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:40 PM.
|1||Kid Cruz||M. Franco||L. Rice|
|2||Wicked Strong||R. Maragh||J. Jerkens|
|3||Noble Moon||I. Ortiz, Jr.||L. Gyarmati|
|4||Harpoon||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher|
|5||Los Borrachos||C. Velasquez||W. Mott|
|6||Kristo||M. Garcia||J. Sadler|
|7||Schivarelli||J. Castellano||E. Kenneally|
|8||Samraat||J. Ortiz||R. Violette, Jr.|
|9||Effinex||R. Montanez||D. Smith|
|10||Uncle Sigh||C. Nakatani||G. Contessa|
|11||Social Inclusion||L. Contreras||M. Azpurua|