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OffTrackBetting.com - The Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes goes down this Saturday, April 9 from Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York. Some of the best three year olds around will take to Aqueduct's dirt track and race 1 1/8 miles searching for the winner's share of the $1 million purse and the 100-40-20-10 points scale awarded for a spot in the Kentucky Derby in a month's time.
Eight three year olds will line up in the Wood Memorial - race 10 on Aqueduct's stacked Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:30 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all eight combatants for this important, lucrative, Road to the Kentucky Derby Grade 1 stakes - the winner of which the winner in virtually guaranteed a starting spot in the Run for the Roses.
Shagaf 2-1 - Chad Brown trained colt has three career starts and three wins. He stepped into stakes company for the first time last time out and won the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths on this track March 5. Before that were a two length Allowance Optional Claiming score at Gulfstream Park January 29 and a maiden score at by an impressive six lengths first asking on this track November 22. Irad Ortiz has been tabbed with keeping Shagaf's perfect record intact Saturday as the morning line favorite - from the rail. He will use this race as a tuneup for the Kentucky Derby - a race that he has already all-but-qualified for.
Outwork 5-2 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has three career starts and two wins and a second place finish. Last time out was a respectable second behind stablemate Destin in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 12 which followed an Allowance Optional Claiming score February 13 by 4 1/4 lengths, 10 months away from the track and a maiden score by 2 1/4 lengths in gate-to-wire fashion at first asking - at Aqueduct Racetrack back in April. Outwork has been impressive so far and looks to bounce back from his only career blemish Saturday when he leaves as the morning line second choice from the outside gate 8 with John Velazquez aboard. Outwork will need only a top four finish to get into the starting gate at Churchill Downs.
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Matt King Coal 3-1 - Linda Rice trained colt has two wins, a second and a third place finish in four career starts and enters on a nice two race win streak - an Allowance Optional Claiming by one length last time out on this track March 6 and a maiden score in October at Belmont Park. He makes his stakes debut Saturday having improved every time out and could be the most overlooked entry in the field. Matt King Coal could be a factor Saturday from gate 6 with Jose Ortiz guiding him but will need a top two finish to earn a starting spot in the Run for the Roses.
Flexibility 8-1 - Chad Brown trained colt has been good so far in his five race career - two wins and two second place finishes. Last time out was a bit of a hiccup however - a fourth in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes here January 30. It followed a nice win by an impressive 4 1/4 lengths on this track in the Grade 3 Jerome Stakes January 2 and a pair of good seconds in graded stakes action - the Grade 2 Remsen here November 28 and the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes also on this track November 4 - both results coming behind the terrific Moyhamen. He also won his debut in October. Flexibility had looked like a serious contender for the Derby before last time out and will be out to get back on the radar Saturday from post 5. Manuel Franco is scheduled to ride an entry that probably only needs a top four finish in order to qualify for the Derby.
Adventist 10-1 - Leah Gyarmati trained colt makes his fourth career start Saturday having posted a win at first asking - on this track by an astounding 11 lengths as favorite December 19 and consecutive third place finishes - last time out in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes on this track March 5 and in behind Shagaf the Grade 3 Withers Stakes also here January 30. He has been competitive every time out and hopes to be again Saturday. Kendrick Carmouche will be in the reins from gate 2 for an entry that will likely qualify for the Derby with a third place or better finish.
Dalmore 12-1 - has seven career starts already for trainer Keith Desormeaux with a win and three runner-up finishes. He makes his stakes debut Saturday having finally broken maiden last time out around two turns by 2 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita March 25. That win followed a second, a fourth and another second in MSW races earlier in his career. Dalmore steps up off a career best effort and will have Junior Alvarado aboard from post 7 Saturday.
Tale of S'avall 20-1 - has just three career starts for trainer Barclay Tagg with one win - that coming in his debut at Saratoga August 29. He stepped into stakes company for the first time two starts back on October 3 and finished fifth in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park and was also fifth in his most recent start - the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 12. Tale of S'avall hopes to bounce back off a pair of pedestrian outings and to get his first graded stakes score. Cornelio Velasquez gets the call from gate 4 as Tale of S'avall tries to qualify for the Derby with a second place finish or better.
Trojan Nation 30-1 - Peter Gallagher trained colt has yet to post victory in his career but does have thee third place finishes in five starts - all MSW races. He enters off a pair of those third place finishes - both on this track with the last one coming March 5. He makes a huge leap up in competition in so-so form and will have Aaron Gryder in the saddle from post 3.
Race 10 on Aqueduct's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:30 PM.
|1||Shagaf||2-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Chad Brown|
|2||Adventist||10-1||Kendrick Carmouche||Leah Gyarmati|
|3||Trojan Nation||30-1||Aaron Gryder||Patrick Gallagher|
|4||Tale of S'avall||20-1||Cornelio Velasquez||Barclay Tagg|
|5||Flexibility||8-1||Manuel Franco||Chad Brown|
|6||Matt King Coal||3-1||Jose Ortiz||Linda Rice|
|7||Dalmore||12-1||Junior Alvarado||J. Desormeaux|
|8||Outwork||5-2||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher|
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