Restoring Hope in the Wood Memorial

Wood Memorial Winner Hasn’t Won Kentucky Derby Since 2000

It’s been nearly two decades since the Wood Memorial winner went on to win the Kentucky Derby. The last Wood – Derby double winner was Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. Saturday’s running of the $750,000 Grade II Wood Memorial at Aqueduct offers some Enticing prospects looking to Restore Hope into the key Derby prep race.

According to Super Screener Weekly and racing analysis by Mike Shutty, there are some key findings to note about the Wood Memorial. Super Screener analyzes key Graded Stakes each week using time-tested research methodology that includes race projections, horse-by-horse analysis and other key race info and selections.

Reviewing the past 10 editions of the Wood Memorial, here are some findings to consider.

  • Horses shipping in from Florida have won the last 6 renewals of the Wood Memorial
  • A pace type has not won the Wood over the past 10 years regardless of pace set up (but they have finished 2nd twice)
  • Trainer Todd Pletcher has won half of the last 8 runnings of the Wood Memorial
  • You can usually count on one long shot bomber to hit the board in the bottom of the Exactas, Trifectas and Superfectas

 The clear favorite is Enticed (6-5), the well-bred colt by Medaglia d’ Oro who should enjoy the added distance. Enticed dominated last out on this track going the 1-turn mile to win the Gotham (G3) by nearly 3-lengths. He kicked clear in the stretch and was geared down jockey Junior Alvarado. Trainer Kiran McLaughlin won the race previously with Frosted, and he has a good one here with Enticed, who showed a 16 point improvement in his BRIS Speed Rating when switching back to 1-turn and running in the clear on the outside. Enticed won the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last November at Churchill Downs over a number of Derby contenders, and while there is some vulnerability against these and a short price, he’s still the one to beat.

Recall Enticed finished 9-lengths in front of 4th place finisher Firenze Fire in the Gotham, and Firenze Fire (6-1) is a colt that has run the same race the last three times out showing no progression and seems better suited to the 1-turn mile. He’ll need a top-3 finish to qualify for the Derby, as he has 29 points in the current Kentucky Derby points standings while Enticed has already secured his spot in the Run for the Roses with 63 points.

The horse that offers hope as a most intriguing Wood entry for trainer Bob Baffert is Restoring Hope, a Giant’s Causeway colt who broke his maiden last out at Santa Anita and was shipped to Aqueduct instead of running in the Santa Anita Derby against Baffert’s prized colt Justify. Restoring Hope may not be the best in the West, but California shippers have dominated wherever they have gone and Baffert has always been high on this developing 2-yr-old. He’ll track the pace here and will have plenty of energy left in the tank to negotiate the added ground and he will get better the longer they go. Brilliant work pattern coming into this makes Restoring Hope one to include in all exotic wagers with a shot to win at 4-1 odds.

Recall the Super Screener long shot angle about a bomber hitting the board in this race? Take a look at King Zachary (20-1) for trainer Dale Romans. Another lightly-race colt, this one by Curlin, who broke his maiden last out at Gulfstream March 18. He’s getting good at the right time and blew away a weak maiden field last out tracking slow fractions before sprinting home. He continues rapid form progression now against better at a huge price with more distance to his liking.

Tune in for the Wood Memorial on NBC Sports Network with post time at 5:55 p.m. ET, and watch other Kentucky Derby runners in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and Santa Anita Derby. 

2018 Wood Memorial – Saturday, April 7th at Aqueduct Racetrack
1 1/8th Miles – $750,000 

PP Horse / Odds Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Heartfullofstars (KY) 20-1 Dylan Davis 123 Philip D’Amato 20/1
2 Firenze Fire (FL) 6-1 Manuel Franco 123 Jason Servis 6/1
3 Evaluator (NY) 20-1 Kendrick Carmouche 123 Michael Dilger 20/1
4 Old Time Revival (FL) 6-1 Jeremy Rose 123 Kenneth Decker 6/1
5 Enticed (KY) 6-5 Junior Alvarado 123 Kiaran P. McLaughlin 6/5
6 Catch Twenty Two (KY) 50-1 Luis R. Reyes 123 Naipaul Chatterpaul 50/1
7 King Zachary (KY) 20-1 Robby Albarado 123 Dale L. Romans 20/1
8 Restoring Hope (KY) 4-1 Flavien Prat 123 Bob Baffert 4/1
9 Vino Rosso (KY) 9-2 John R. Velazquez 123 Todd A. Pletcher 9/2

 

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