Wood Memorial

The Week in Review: Derby Dynamics Reflect Changing Times

It's long been an appealing part of American lore how the GI Kentucky Derby is unique compared to every other race run during the year. The emphasis has traditionally been on young horses getting exactly one chance to run a distance they've never before attempted, against the largest field they'll likely ever encounter; in front of the biggest on-track crowd they'll ever experience. But the 21st Century has gradually added dynamics to the Derby's legacy that have shaped the race in ways that could not have been fathomed even one...

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TDN Kentucky Derby Top 20 For Apr. 12

All the nine-furlong preps for the GI Kentucky Derby are in the books, but Saturday's GIII Lexington S. still offers 20 points to the winner, so there could be some shakeout in the bottom tier of the Top 20. The rankings below are independent from the "Road to the Derby" points leaderboard Churchill Downs uses to determine starting berths. Access that list here.  1) ZANDON (c, Upstart--Memories Prevail, by Creative Cause) O-Jeff Drown. B-Brereton C. Jones (KY). T-Chad C. Brown. Sales History: $170,000 ylg '20 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GISW, 4-2-1-1,...

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Final Derby Preps Yield Pair of Aces, Tantalizing Wild Card

The Week in Review by T. D. Thornton This past Saturday's last-chance trio of nine-furlong preps for the GI Kentucky Derby unfolded like a tense card game that came down to the crucial final draw. Some decent hands had already been dealt over the course of the long season, but we still needed to see the last three cards from the deck to get a handle on how intriguing and entertaining this year's Run for the Roses would turn out to be. That final turn revealed, in succession: An ace....

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Pair of Unbeatens Clash with Remsen Winner in Wood Memorial

The New York road to the GI Kentucky Derby concludes with Saturday's GII Wood Memorial S., featuring the winners of Aqueduct's GII Remsen S., GIII Withers S. and GIII Gotham S., respectively. Morello (Classic Empire) brings a perfect three-for-three record to the table for Steve Asmussen following sharp, press-and-pounce victories in the Jimmy Winkfield S. Feb. 6 and one-turn mile Gotham Mar. 5. He is the 8-5 morning-line favorite for this first test around two turns. "We're excited. The horse is doing well, he's super sharp and we think we...

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Epicenter Morning-Line Favorite in Final Derby Future Wager

Fans will have the final pari-mutuel opportunity to bet on this year's GI Kentucky Derby in advance of the May 7 race beginning Thursday at noon ET through Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET for Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager ("KDFW"). Pool 5 of the KDFW features 24 betting interests and the 5-1 early morning-line favorite is Winchell Thoroughbreds' GII TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter (Not This Time). Unlike the previous three-day Kentucky Derby Future Wager opportunities, Pool 5 will feature an early start Thursday and will close...

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Barese Tunes up For Wood

Peter Proscia's Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher's Barese (Laoban), unbeaten in three starts against fellow New York-breds, tuned up for a tilt at the Apr. 9 GII Wood Memorial with a six-furlong work in 1:16.42 at Belmont Park Saturday. "He has really been a nice horse. We're pointing for the Wood and are excited for the opportunity," Staudacher said. A debut winner at Belmont last May for trainer Mike Maker, Barese returned with a 2 3/4-length victory in the Jan. 9 Rego Park S. and added the one-mile Gander...

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Early Voting Works for Wood Memorial

Klaravich Stables' Early Voting (Gun Runner) worked in company Friday in preparation for the GII Wood Memorial Apr. 9 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The unbeaten GIII Withers S. winner went a half-mile in :48.47 (26/134) over the Belmont Park training track with stablemate and last year's Withers winner Risk Taking (Medaglia d'Oro). "The horse is coming along really well," said trainer Chad Brown. "He's been doing well since the Withers and he's been doing everything the right way. He's still on track for the Wood." Early Voting captured his debut going...

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Mo Donegal to Scratch from Fountain of Youth

   Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo), the 3-1 morning-line favorite in Saturday's GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. at Gulfstream, will be scratched from the race, reports owner Jerry Crawford. His next start will most likely be in the GII Wood Memorial S. Apr. 9 at Aqueduct. Crawford said he and trainer Todd Pletcher were considering scratching after Mo Donegal drew the 12 post for the Fountain of Youth, but the decision became more clear cut after the colt developed a minor virus. "We are going to scratch," Crawford said. "In...

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Pletcher Lays Out Plans For Top 3-Year-Olds

With less than three months remaining before the running of the GI Kentucky Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher, with 42 horses nominated to the Triple Crown, will be active in a number of Derby preps as he prepares his troops for his annual invasion of Churchill Downs. Pletcher divulged his plans during this week's TDN Writers' Room podcast, which will be available Wednesday afternoon. Despite finishing third as the favorite in last Saturday's GIII Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream, Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo) may represent Pletcher's best chance of winning a...

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Wood, Carter Highlight Aqueduct Spring Stakes Schedule

Officials at the New York Racing Association (NYRA) have released the stakes schedule for the Aqueduct spring meet Mar. 31 through Apr. 24, featuring 13 added-money events worth at least $2.7 million. The marquee day of the meet takes place Saturday, Apr. 9, highlighted by the $750,000 GII Wood Memorial S., a final prep for the GI Kentucky Derby that offers a total of 170 qualifying points (100-40-20-10) towards a start in the 'Run for the Roses.' Should a Grade I or Group 1 winner be declared an official starter...

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Klaravich Runners Work at Belmont

Three runners campaigned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables—one bound for Kentucky, one for Maryland and a third to stay at home--worked Saturday morning over the Belmont main track. Crowded Trade (More Than Read) and Risk Taking (Medaglia d'Oro), third and seventh, respectively, when last seen in the GII Wood Memorial S. at Aqueduct Apr. 3, worked a half-mile in :47.55 in company for trainer Chad Brown. "They both seem to have bounced out of the Wood in fine shape," said Brown . "We'll monitor them week to week, but they...

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Todd Pletcher Talks Derby Contenders On Writers' Room

At one point this spring, it was conceivable that soon-to-be Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher would be faced with the unusual situation of not having a GI Kentucky Derby starter. Things change quickly in racing though, as now the seven-time Eclipse Award winner is likely to have four horses in the gate in Louisville and Wednesday morning, he joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland to talk about his sudden Derby quartet. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Pletcher also talked about...

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