New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack will host the $750,000 G2 Wood Memorial. With derby points of 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers, at least 2 spots in the Kentucky Derby starting gate will be up for grabs. The Wood has produced 20 Derby winners but none since Funny Cide in 2003. This year’s field of 9 will be trying to change that trend.
The favorite, with a 6/5 morning line, will be Enticed. Trained by Kiaran McLuaghlin and ridden by Junior Alvarado, Enticed easily won the G3 Gotham Stakes by 2-3/4 lengths when he gobbled up ground after sitting behind a suicidal speed duel. He will be joined by fellow Gotham foes Old Time Revival and Firenze Fire. Old Time Revival set the wicked pace in the Gotham and still held on for 2nd while Firenze Fire had no excuse and finished a far back 4th.
Of this Aqueduct-tested trio, I was most impressed by Old Time Revival who stayed on admirably following fractions of 23.00 and 46 and 2. If jockey Jeremy Rose could control the pace, Old Time Revival may have a shot to move up. If the horse remains a handful on the front end, he will be setting the table for another closer.
From the outside post will be Todd Pletcher’s 9/2 morning line Vino Rosso. I was ready to disregard this colt after a disappointing 4th in the Tampa Bay Derby, but his workouts caught my eye when workout partner Audible, who was no match for Vino Rosso on the training track, destroyed the field in last week’s Florida Derby. Can Vino Rosso be better than Audible in the afternoon or is he just a training track sensation?
The pace of The Wood should be set by Old Time Revival. While there are several other front runners who would like to be up there, none of them have shown the pace figures of this colt. Jockey Jeremy Rose is not having the best spring, visiting the winner’s circle at a mere 3% clip, so I expect him to go too far, too fast and not have enough left near the wire. I expect Firenze Fire to be a little closer this week but he looks to be on the down end of a form cycle. And Enticed made such a huge step forward in his last that I think he will bounce and disappoint his backers at low odds.
The horse I landed on will be Pletcher’s Vino Rosso. I will forgive his effort in the TB Derby and concentrate on how sharply he has been working. The only horse to outwork him on March 24th was champion Always Dreaming, and on March 31st he was only bested by Rebel Stakes winner Magnum Moon. If Vino Rosso could merely duplicate his morning efforts he has a chance to take down The Wood.
I will play Vino Rosso for the win and hope for more than the 9/2 morning line odds.