2024 Wood Memorial Contenders at Aqueduct

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NYRA Press Release
Updated: April 04, 2024

Wood Memorial Awards 100-50-25-15-10 Qualifying Points for Kentucky Derby

The 2024 Wood Memorial (Grade 2) will be run on Saturday, April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Wood Memorial is one of the major prep races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. It is run over a distance of 9 furlongs on dirt. The race was named to honor Eugene D. Wood, a New York State politician and horse racing enthusiast who had been a founder and past president of the old Jamaica Racetrack where the race was run until 1960.

On five occasions, the Wood has been run in two divisions, resulting in two winners in 1944, 1945, 1947, 1974, and 1983.


G2 Wood Memorial 13-horse field led by Deterministic

Grade 3 Gotham-winner Deterministic vies to lock in his spot in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby when taking on 12 rivals in the 99th running of the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial, a 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby qualifier for sophomores traveling nine furlongs, at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday, April 6.

The Wood Memorial, slated as Race 10, tops a lucrative 11-race card that will also feature the Grade 2, $300,000 Carter Handicap, the Grade 3, $175,000 Distaff, the Grade 3, $200,000 Gazelle, a 100-50-25-15-10 qualifier for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, and the Listed $150,000 Bay Shore. First post is 11:30 a.m. Eastern.

2024 Wood Memorial Field & Odds

Race 10 at Aqueduct on Saturday, April 6 - Post 4:07 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Resilience 6-1 John Velazquez
123 Lbs
William Mott
2 El Grande O 8-1 Dylan Davis
123 Lbs
Linda Rice
3 Lonesome Boy 50-1 Adam Bowman
123 Lbs
Hugo Padilla
4 Deterministic 7-5 Joel Rosario
123 Lbs
Christophe Clement
5 Protective 30-1 Kendrick Carmouche
123 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
6 Evening News 20-1 Jareth Loveberry
123 Lbs
Michael Pino
7 Merit 20-1 Edwin Gonzalez
123 Lbs
Saffie Joseph, Jr.
8 Elysian Meadows 15-1 Jose Lezcano
123 Lbs
William Mott
9 Tuscan Sky 4-1 Manuel Franco
123 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
10 Gettysburg Address 30-1 Emmanuel Esquivel
123 Lbs
Dallas Stewart
11 Society Man 30-1 Luis Rivera, Jr.
123 Lbs
Danny Gargan
12 Deposition 50-1 Dexter Haddock
123 Lbs
Uriah St. Lewis
13 Uncle Heavy 8-1 Mychel Sanchez
123 Lbs
Robert Reid, Jr.

Deterministic makes his second start off a nearly seven-month layoff that followed a strong debut graduation sprinting seven furlongs in August at Saratoga Race Course for trainer Christophe Clement. He returned with gusto on March 2 to post a dominant score when making his stakes debut in the one-turn mile Grade 3 Gotham over sloppy and sealed footing, capturing the historic test by two lengths.

"He's trained very well all year long and came back very well, very straightforward," Clement said of Deterministic's development from two to three. "All his works have been very good and he's a very athletic kind of horse - the most beautiful mover. He barely touches the ground and moves like a cat. He's good mentally, too."

Ridden by returning pilot Joel Rosario in the Gotham, Deterministic stalked in fifth 1 1/2 lengths off the pace set by Maximus Meridius, who marked splits of 23.42 seconds and 46.63 before relinquishing command to the returning New York-bred El Grande O. Deterministic steadily improved position at each point of call and was within striking range in third at the top of the lane.

The Liam's Map dark bay went four-wide in pursuit of El Grande O with Just a Touch moving in tandem with him, but Deterministic had the advantage and kicked clear in the final sixteenth to claim victory and the 50 Kentucky Derby points that accompanied it. He completed the mile in 1:36.37 in an effort that garnered a 93 Beyer Speed Figure.

"It was a very good race and a good field over a wet track - he handled the whole thing very well," said Clement, who looks to make it to the Kentucky Derby for the first time in his accomplished career. "It will be interesting to see him going two turns. We'll just go one step at a time. You never know until you try, but his style of racing and the way he trains makes you believe he should stay."

Deterministic had his final work on Friday at Payson Park Training Center with Rosario in the irons, covering five furlongs in company in 1:01.60, the bullet of five works that day.

"He had a nice work with Joel," said Clement. "It was a solid work and he came out of it in good shape. He settled behind and quickened nicely in the stretch moving well within himself. I was happy with the work."

Bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms, Deterministic was a $625,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale and is out of the winning Speightstown mare Giulio's Jewel. His third dam, the turf stakes-winning Amelia, produced graded stakes-winning turfers Rainha Da Bateria, Assateague and Kindergarden Kid.

Deterministic will emerge from post 4.

Michael Milam's Uncle Heavy returns to the scene of his Grade 3 Withers score as the only horse in the field to have successfully tackled the Wood's distance.

Trained by Butch Reid, Jr., the Pennsylvania-bred Social Inclusion bay was a thrilling winner of the Withers on February 3 when rallying late from 3 1/2 lengths off the pace under regular rider Mychel Sanchez to collar El Grande O at the wire and win by a nose. The effort, which was his first outside of his home base of Parx Racing, was awarded a career-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure.

"He's a natural route horse - a big, strong horse," said Reid, Jr. "He's got a great head on his shoulders and he doesn't worry about anything. He doesn't use a lot of energy except in his races."

Following the Withers, Uncle Heavy missed three weeks of training and was turned out on a farm due to an equine herpesvirus quarantine, but Reid, Jr. said the talented colt relished his short break.

"If anything, it did him good," said Reid, Jr. "He got away from the rigamarole of the racetrack and it really helped him. He looks great and is coming into the race real fresh. It was a blessing in disguise, and it forced us to not try and fit another race in there, which was the smartest thing."

Prior to the Withers, Uncle Heavy graduated on debut sprinting six furlongs in October and captured his first win against winners two starts later when scoring by 1 1/4 lengths in the state-bred Wait For It in December. He made his final preparations for the Wood with a half-mile work on Saturday at Parx when covering the distance handily in 51.38 seconds.

"The work went really well," said Reid, Jr. "He was well within himself and it was just what we were looking for. His major work was a few weeks ago, so this was a nice, easy half a mile. He finished up good and strong and galloped out beautifully. We're very happy with where he is right now."

Sanchez retains the mount from the outermost post 13.

Barry Schwartz's New York homebred El Grande O [post 2, Dylan Davis] stretches back out to two turns after a prominent third-place finish last out in the Grade 3 Gotham. The Linda Rice trainee, who has hit the board in 9-of-10 starts, brings the most experienced resume to the field as he makes his 12th lifetime start.

"He's doing well. He has experience, fitness, and he's won a couple stakes at a flat mile, but maybe his best race was at a mile and an eighth in the Withers when he got beat three inches," said Rice. "It will be a big field, so I'm sure the experience will help him there."

In the Gotham, El Grande O battled for the early lead and was full of run at the top of the lane to take a 1 1/2-length lead with a five-wide bid, but was run down late and settled for show.

El Grande O vies for his first open-company victory after defeating fellow state-breds in the seven-furlong Bertram F. Bongard in September and the one-mile Sleepy Hollow in October, both over a sealed Big A main track.

The Wood will be the fourth Kentucky Derby prep the son of Take Charge Indy has contested this year, including runner-up efforts in the one-mile Jerome in January and nine-furlong Withers in February. He is currently 19th on the leaderboard with 30 points towards a spot in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby starting gate.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher will have two chances to secure a record-equaling eighth Wood Memorial victory as he sends out the undefeated Tuscan Sky [post 9, Manny Franco] and the maiden Protective [post 5, Kendrick Carmouche].

Spendthrift Farm's Tuscan Sky arrives from a two-length score on February 17 traveling 1 1/16 miles over sloppy and sealed footing at Fair Grounds. There, the Vino Rosso gray was patient as he tracked 2 1/2 lengths in second behind the pace set by Nash in the three-horse field. Tuscan Sky was given his cue by Luis Saez at the three-quarters call and went head-to-head with Nash to the top of the stretch before taking command as the trio straightened for home. He inched clear down the lane to finish two lengths ahead of Nash, who exited that effort to win Oaklawn Park's Hot Springs impressively.

Pletcher said he was pleased with the effort from Tuscan Sky, who added to a 5 1/4-length debut victory sprinting six furlongs in January here.

"He's done really well. It's always a challenging situation in a short field with only three horses and generally in those type of situations it's kind of a match race and the edge goes to the pacesetter," said Pletcher. "But he was able to track Nash, who is a really nice horse, and beat him under those circumstances which I thought was really encouraging.

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"We felt like the Wood Memorial made sense for him. He broke his maiden over the track there and I like the mile and an eighth for him," Pletcher added. "I'm hoping it all comes together."

A $200,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select Yearling Sale, Tuscan Sky is out of the stakes-winning Sky Mesa mare South Andros and is a half-brother to the graded stakes-winning millionaire Private Creed.

Repole Stable's Protective looks to graduate in style on the heels of a maiden special weight effort on March 10 at Tampa Bay Downs that saw him cross the wire third but disqualified to fourth for interference in the final turn of the one-mile and 40-yard route. The effort came nearly eight months after a runner-up effort sprinting six furlongs on debut in July at Saratoga when three-quarter-lengths back of subsequent multiple stakes-winner Valentine Candy.

"We like the way he's been training. He was very green in the Tampa race," said Pletcher. "We've worked him with blinkers twice since then and it seemed to make a difference. I thought his last couple of works were quite good. It's ambitious but he's shown talent all along and we think he'll appreciate the mile and an eighth."

Pletcher said the recently-added blinkers aided the son of Medaglia d'Oro in his latest work on Saturday at Palm Beach Downs when covering five furlongs in 1:01.35 in company with an unnamed Gun Runner colt out of Atala.

"It went well," said Pletcher. "He was a length or so in front of that colt at the finish and galloped out well in front of him. It seemed like the blinkers kept him focused throughout."

The $250,000 Keeneland September Yearling Purchase is out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Empire Maker mare Grace Hall, who won the 2011 Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga.

Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. will attempt a repeat Wood victory with Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds' Kentucky homebred Merit [post 7, Edwin Gonzalez] after capturing last year's edition with 59-1 longshot Lord Miles.

Joseph, Jr. has had great success at Aqueduct in the month of April, including in 2021 when winning the Grade 1 Carter Handicap with Mischievous Alex and the Grade 3 Bay Shore with Drain the Clock. His Wood Memorial history also includes a respective third and fourth with Skippylongstocking and A.P.'s Secret in 2022, and a fourth with Math Wizard in 2019.

While Merit and Lord Miles have their differences, Joseph, Jr. said he has the same faith in Merit as he did Lord Miles.

"They're two different horses. If anything, Merit has a little more speed and he's more into the bridle where Lord Miles wouldn't pick up the bridle," said Joseph, Jr. "But both of them we believed that they have the ability and that's why we want to give him a chance. We've had good success shipping up to Aqueduct in April and hopefully it continues."

Merit was last seen finishing a pace-setting second in a nine-furlong optional claimer on March 1 at Gulfstream Park where he was collared in the lane by the Shug McGaughey-trained Conquest Warrior and defeated five lengths. He was a romping 10 1/4-length winner sprinting seven furlongs on debut in November at Gulfstream ahead of a prominent third traveling one-mile in February at the South Florida oval.

"His first time out, he won as good as he could win. He missed a little time and came back with a decent third where he made a big middle move and then he flattened out," said Joseph, Jr. "Last time, I thought he was pretty good, but he ran into a Shug McGaughey horse that was good on the day. He's a horse that continues to get a little better, so we'll take a shot and see where he's at."

Travin Stables' Evening News [post 6, Jareth Loveberry] enters from an 8 1/4-length romp in a March 8 allowance traveling a two-turn mile over the Turfway Park synthetic in pacesetting fashion. Trained by Michael Pino, the Nyquist colt made every pole a winning one through splits of 24.74, 48.73 and 1:13.83 before powering home in the stretch to best his nine foes in a final time of 1:37.90 with returning rival Gettysburg Address in third.

Evening News makes his first start on dirt since a distant sixth on debut in August at Ellis Park when in the care of Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. He graduated at fourth asking in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint at Turfway where he was haltered for $50,000 by his current connections.

Gervais Racing's Gettysburg Address [post 10, Emmanuel Esquivel], who was purchased privately after his latest start on March 8, will make his first outing for conditioner Dallas Stewart on the heels of his third-place finish in the aforementioned Turfway allowance.

"It looked like he came out of that race good," said Stewart. "He's a solid horse and we're glad to have him. The two turns is always a test, but he's got a great pedigree and we're hopeful."

The son of Constitution made his first five outings for trainer Brad Cox, who sent him out to win on debut in August at Ellis Park with blinkers on. The bay is winless in four starts since, three of them without blinkers, but finished a game fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Smarty Jones on New Year's Day at Oaklawn Park when 2 1/2 lengths back of the victorious Just Steel, who finished second in Saturday's Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.

Gettysburg Address will race with blinkers on for the first time since finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Street Sense in October at Churchill Downs. Stewart said he wore them in his latest work and that he was encouraged by what he saw as Gettysburg Address covered five furlongs in 1:00.40 on Friday at Churchill Downs.

"He got there to Belmont this morning and he's doing well," said Stewart. "He's a real good-looking horse and he had a really good work here at Churchill - it was push-button. We put the blinkers back on in the work and we'll put them back on for the race. He's won with them previously, so we'll see how it plays out."

Completing the field are the stakes-winning Lonesome Boy [post 3, Adam Bowman] for conditioner Hugo Padilla; the pair of two-time winning New York-bred Elysian Meadows [post 8, Jose Lezcano] and maiden-winner Resilience [post 1, John Velazquez] - who races with blinkers on - for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott; maiden-winner Society Man [post 11, Luis Rivera, Jr.] for trainer Danny Gargan; and maiden-winner Deposition [post 12, Dexter Haddock] for owner/trainer Uriah St. Lewis.

Pre-Draw News

Lonesome Boy likely for G2 Wood Memorial

Mar 24 - Trainer Hugo Padilla said he is still deciding between the nine-furlong Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino or the seven-furlong, Listed $150,000 Bay Shore for promising sophomore Lonesome Boy.

The Washington-bred Nationhood bay drew off under Adam Bowman to win by 6 3/4-lengths last out in the City of Brotherly Love, going one mile and 70 yards on March 5 at Parx. The victory earned a career-best 78 Beyer Speed Figure, improving upon a third at the same distance versus allowance optional claiming on February 19.

"Looking at the way he's performing, he's doing everything right. I love the distance for the Wood Memorial. I know the competition will be tough but I like my chances," said Padilla. "Most of all, I like the distance, he can go with the frontrunners. He went 22 last time in the first quarter and just kept on going."

In addition to his strong recent form around two turns, Lonesome Boy won at the Bay Shore distance by 1 1/2-lengths versus starter optional claiming company on January 28 at the Big A. Padilla said it was better than it looks on paper because it was another 10 lengths back to third of the 10 horse field.

"I prefer the distance for the Wood Memorial. I think that is where we are going to go, this is a chance that who knows when we will get again," said Padilla. "He's still learning, he's still green, but I think he is a much better horse when stalking the pace. I think the Wood Memorial is the best spot for him."

Padilla said the Parx-based Bowman, who has piloted nine of Lonesome Boy's 10 starts, will retain the mount.

"Owner John Parker is very loyal. He wants to stick to his people and Adam Bowman has been amazing to us, he knows the horse like the back of his hand. He will absolutely stay on the horse," Padilla said. "Mr. Parker is an amazing person, an amazing owner. This is his dream, have a nice horse to compete in the big ones."

Out of the Atta Boy Roy mare Atta Girl Pearl, Lonesome Boy is 10-3-2-2 lifetime with $126,444 in earnings.

Evening News "50/50" to make headlines in G2 Wood Memorial

Mar 24 - Travin Stables' Evening News, an 8 1/4-length allowance winner last out at Turfway Park, is under consideration for a Road to the Kentucky Derby start in either the nine-furlong Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino [100-50-25-15-10] on April 6 here or the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3, $400,000 Lexington [20-10-6-4-2] on April 13 at Keeneland.

Trained by Michael Pino, the Nyquist colt has posted a close second and a romping win, both over the Turfway synthetic, since being haltered for $50,000 from a fourth-out graduation in January sprinting 6 1/2-furlongs on January 18 at the Florence, Kentucky oval.

"There's a race in Kentucky I'm considering, so it's a 50-50 possibility. We're still weighing it out," Pino said. "He's in Kentucky right now, but we're considering all our options."

Pino credited owner Vincent Puglisi of Travin Stables for finding the promising colt out of the Bernardini mare Prieta, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Pants On Fire.

"I've claimed some nice horses, but I have to give the owner the credit on that one. He liked the breeding and wanted to look at him. He's a good-looking horse, so we took a shot," Pino said. "He's a classy-looking horse and well made. He still has a lot to prove, but he has the presence of a good horse."

A $300,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, Evening News launched his career with Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. He was off the board in his first two starts, trying the Ellis Park dirt in his August debut and a subsequent Churchill Downs turf attempt in November. The dark bay improved markedly when third in a one-mile maiden claiming event in December at Turfway before breaking his maiden.

Evening News was a pacesetting second on debut for his new connections in February, landing one length back of the Brad Cox-trained Tennessee, a $1.2 million purchase at the OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.

Last out, with Luan Machado up, Evening News made every pole a winning one in a one-mile allowance around two turns, covering the distance in 1:37.90 to register a career-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure.

Pino said he is hopeful that Evening News can transfer his improved form over synthetic to dirt.

"I was impressed with that race. We have to hope that he dirts and on pedigree he should, but you never know until you try it," Pino said. "I'll work him back this week depending on the weather, and I'll probably take him over to Keeneland and work him on the dirt.

"I was impressed with the way he just punched away [last out] - he came home fast," added Pino. "He has the makings of a good horse, so we'll see how it works out."

Society Man Leans Towards 2024 Wood Memorial

Mar 24 - Trainer Danny Gargan's Society Man (West Paces Racing, GMP Stables) will give another try at his first stakes victory in the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino, a nine-furlong test for sophomores slated for April 6, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Wood Memorial is the final stop in New York on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, awarding the top-five finishers a respective 100-50-25-15-10 qualifying points towards the prestigious Grade 1 test on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs.

The son of Good Magic enters the Wood Memorial from a deep-closing graduation traveling a one-turn mile on March 9 here, rallying from 10 lengths off the pace to take command at the stretch call and draw clear to a three-length victory under Luis Rivera, Jr., who Gargan said will likely retain the mount in the Wood. The effort garnered a career-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure.

"The kid rode him good," Gargan said of Rivera, Jr. "He sat back there and didn't get in a hurry. He showed a nice turn of foot and opened up there and won pretty easy. His pedigree suggests two turns, so we don't think distance will be a problem. We just have to hope he's mature enough to run with these kind of horses."

Society Man debuted with a distant off-the-board effort sprinting six furlongs in July at Saratoga Race Course ahead of a five-month respite. He returned with a game third-place effort in December here when stretched out considerably to nine furlongs and two turns for the first time, settling for show honors after a bumpy beginning and a five-wide bid in the stretch.

"The first time I ran him two turns, he needed a race. We had turned him out and gelded him, and he had a big gap in races," said Gargan. "I thought he just needed one to get back running, and then we went ahead and took a shot in the Withers. We've always wanted to run him long."

In the nine-furlong Grade 3 Withers in February here, Society Man again did not have a clean break and trailed in 8th-of-9 in the three-path with no strong response when asked to pick it up in the final turn.

"We expected him to run better in the Withers, but he broke in a tangle and never really got running," said Gargan. "We have always liked him and he's a nice gelding. We're just taking another chance and seeing if he can move forward. If he can hit the board, it would be great."

Society Man was reluctant to load into the gate in his latest start and has seen both of his two-turn efforts were hindered by poor breaks, but Gargan said he is confident the chestnut has improved on his gate skills in his morning schooling.

"He was pretty good the other day, so let's hope he keeps getting better," said Gargan. "A lot of the Good Magics can be a little feisty."

Society Man had his first work since his win when covering a half-mile in 47.88 seconds on Friday over the Belmont Park dirt training track in company with the stakes-placed Radio Red. Gargan said he was pleased with the effort.

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"I wanted to get a good work this week," said Gargan. "He's a little bit chunkier and to get the distance, I want to get him tightened up. He had a strong work and then we'll bring him back next week and go a little slower - 49 [seconds] or 48 and change."

In addition to Society Man, Gargan will have even more to look forward to on April 6 as he sends out the well-regarded Dornoch in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on the heels of a win in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on March 2 at Gulfstream Park.

Dornoch, owned by West Paces Racing, R.A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing and Pine Racing Stables, is a full-brother to last year's Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Mage and began his Kentucky Derby journey in New York with a thrilling nose score over next-out Grade 2 Risen Star winner Sierra Leone in the Grade 2 Remsen on December 2 at the Big A.

This year's Remsen has proven to be a key race as half of the 10 starters have gone on to win stakes as sophomores. In addition to Dornoch and Sierra Leone, third-place Drum Roll Please captured the Jerome in January here; sixth-place Copper Tax won Laurel Park's Private Terms on Saturday; and seventh-place Domestic Product won the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9. Additionally, ninth-place Le Dom Bro exited the Remsen to finish second in Gulfstream Park's Swale and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.

Gargan said he is appreciative of the opportunity to send out contenders in two Kentucky Derby preps.

"It will be fun to have a horse in the Blue Grass and one in the Wood on the same day," said Gargan. "It's not easy. I've been in the Wood once with Tax and he ran well [runner-up in 2019], so it would be really cool if this horse can run well."

In the sophomore filly division, Gargan welcomed back stakes-winner Ringy Dingy to his barn at Palm Meadows earlier this winter. The Dialed In chestnut, owned by Peter J. Callahan and James Reiley McDonald, was last seen finishing a distant seventh in the Grade 2 Demoiselle on December 2 here. She returned to the work tab in mid-February and most recently covered a half-mile in 49.95 on March 18.

"She's doing really well," said Gargan. "We haven't picked a race yet for her and she was turned out all winter. She is working well and is probably a month away from running. I wouldn't be surprised if we spot her up there in New York.

"I was hoping she'd get a lot bigger, but she's got a lot mentally better. We're hoping the time off will help her. She was named Ringy Dingy for a reason," Gargan added, with a laugh.

Ringy Dingy was an impressive 6 1/4-length winner of Delaware Park's White Clay Creek on October 13. She was a $200,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale and is out of the multiple stakes-placed Touch Gold mare Wind Caper, making her a full-sister to the multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Defunded.

Uncle Heavy Targeting G2 Wood Memorial

Mar 17 - Trainer Butch Reid, Jr. is pointing three talented sophomores in Uncle Heavy, Carmelina, and Maximus Meridius to races on the lucrative Wood Memorial card on April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Grade 3 Withers-winner Uncle Heavy will take aim at the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino, offering 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points; Busher-placed Carmelina will try the Grade 3, $200,000 Gazelle with 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points on the line; and Maximus Meridius cuts back in distance for the seven-furlong Listed $175,000 Bay Shore.

Due to a now-lifted Equine Herpesvirus quarantine at Belmont Park, Uncle Heavy shipped to a farm in Pennsylvania following the Withers but was able to return to his Parx base on February 25.

Michael Milam's Uncle Heavy returned to the work tab Saturday, completing a five-furlong breeze in 1:02.09 at Parx. It was his first official work since his Withers conquest on February 3, that earned him 20 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Derby.

"The work went very well, we couldn't be any happier. He did it well and came out of it great this morning, ate up everything last night," said Reid, Jr. "We had a horse in front of him to chase after and he went after him."

The Social Inclusion bay, bred in Pennsylvania by Reid, Jr.'s sister-in-law Barbara Reid, currently sits in 17th position on the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings.

"The time off, believe it or not, actually did him a bit of good. He put his weight back on," said Reid Jr. "He's big and fat and healthy now, so we are very happy with the way he is going."

Uncle Heavy holds a lifetime record of 4-3-0-0 with wins at Parx including the state-bred Wait For It going one mile and 70 yards on December 27 and sprinting six furlongs on debut in October.

Gotham Winner Deterministic Has Wood Memorial On Radar

Mar 3 - Deterministic (St. Elias Stable, Ken Langone, Steven Duncker, and Vicarage Stables) earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for his impressive two-length score in Saturday's Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Christophe Clement, the Liam's Map colt entered the one-turn mile for sophomores from a seven-month layoff following his successful debut in August at Saratoga Race Course and showed no signs of rust with a stylish score under Joel Rosario.

"He came back in good order. We're very much enjoying the fact that he won the Gotham yesterday. It was a very strong performance and we're happy with the way he looks this morning," Clement said. "We will probably ship him to Florida this week. He's done very well in Florida and the weather is more under control. He's been here for the last three months and training well here, so no need to change too much at the moment."

Deterministic worked a bullet five-eighths in 1:01.80 on February 17 over the Payson Park Training Center dirt in company with well-regarded New York-bred Pandagate, who subsequently shipped to New York and won the state-bred Gander here last weekend. That breeze completed a series of four bullet works at Payson Park for Deterministic, who put in an easy five-eighths in 1:02 flat on February 24 at the Indiantown, Florida, facility before heading north.

Deterministic was off slow and rallied from last-of-8 and five lengths off the pace to secure a half-length win in his Spa debut sprinting seven furlongs under Rosario. He handled the slight stretch out in distance with aplomb on Saturday, stalking just off the pace from third position through three-quarters in 1:10.94 over the sloppy and sealed going. He rallied wide through the turn and took aim at the leading El Grande O, eventually surging past his New York-bred foe with an inside move just before the sixteenth pole en route to victory in a final time of 1:36.37.

"I had a long talk with Joel last night and he was delighted with the horse," Clement said. "He thought that he was a lot more mature yesterday than what he was in his first race, so there's a lot to enjoy and a lot to like."

The Brad Cox-trained maiden winner Just a Touch closed to finish second with El Grande O in third in front of fourth-place Maximus Meridius and the Clement-trained Capital Idea in fifth secure to 50-25-15-10-5 Kentucky Derby qualifying points on offer to the top-five finishers.

Clement said Deterministic, a $625,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, will be nominated for a number of Derby preps, including the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 6 at the Big A. The historic nine-furlong test for sophomores awards 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.

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"No decision whatsoever made for the next start," Clement said. "At the moment, the only worry is the wellbeing of the horse and we'll go from there. We'll get him to a work and the work will tell us what to do with him."

Clement, who won the 2014 Grade 1 Belmont Stakes with Tonalist, said he would appreciate saddling his first Derby starter provided his charge is in with a shout.

"To run, no - to win, yes," said Clement, with a laugh. "Running is not very exciting, but winning is. If he was to go that route, that would be very exciting. At the moment, we need to evaluate a next start and I believe, most probably, he would need to run before the Derby.

"It was a good performance," Clement added. "I don't want to put pressure on anybody - just common sense, bring him back, apply regular horsemanship and go from there."

Bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms, Deterministic is out of the winning Speightstown mare Giulio's Jewel - his turf stakes-winning third dam, Amelia, produced graded stakes-winning turfers Rainha Da Bateria, Assateague and Kindergarden Kid.

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing's Capital Idea entered the Gotham from an 8 1/4-length second-out graduation score traveling a one-turn mile here on January 28 that garnered a lofty 84 Beyer. He traveled wide throughout the Gotham from the outermost post 11 under returning rider Trevor McCarthy and stayed on well enough down the lane to finish fifth.

"I thought he ran OK. He had a very bad post and he was carried wide all the way, but he actually tried and he finished," Clement said. "We'd love to go a mile and an eighth and two turns with him next time, but where, I don't know. I think the longer the better. He came back in good order. He trained in New York all winter, so I left him in New York."

Clement said he will keep all options for Capital Idea, including the Wood.

"There are other races, but the Wood is a possibility," Clement said.

The $260,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase is out of the stakes-placed Distorted Humor mare Rever de Vous, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-placed Dreaming of Drew.

Adelphi Racing Club, Madaket Stables, Corms Racing Stables and On The Rise Again Stable's Pandagate, bred in the Empire State by Fred W. Hertrich, III., overcame a troubled start under Dylan Davis to post a 5 1/2-length score in the one-turn mile Gander on February 25 here. He has since shipped back to Clement's care in Florida at Payson Park.

The sophomore son of Arrogate was a debut winner over the same distance here against fellow state-breds in October with Davis up before closing to finish third in an open-company optional-claiming route in December at Laurel Park.

Clement said Pandagate has a number of potential options, including the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino; the nine-furlong Federico Tesio on April 20 at Laurel Park; or the Group 2 UAE Derby on March 30 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai which offers 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.

"He came back last week and we'll get to a work at the end of this week. We're very happy with him. He's another one that we'll leave eligible for everything," Clement said.

A $130,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale, Pandagate is out of the Clement-trained stakes-placed Sky Mesa mare Kitty Panda.

2024 Wood Memorial (G2) Probables [offering 100-40-30-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points] Probable: Arctic Arrogance (Linda Rice), Classic Catch (Todd Pletcher), Clear the Air (William Walden), Crupi (Pletcher), Dreamlike (Pletcher), General Banker (James Ferraro), Hit Show (Brad Cox), Lord Miles (Saffie Joseph, Jr.), Mr. Swagger (Juan Carlos Avila), Shadow Dragon (Bill Mott), Slip Mahoney (Cox)
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