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HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

Wicked Strong wins the Wood Memorial

 
All day long on the fast track at Aqueduct horses were winning from off the pace. Jockeys were making long sustained runs down the middle of the track to catch the early pace setters. This did not escape Jimmy Jerkens, the trainer of the Wood Memorial winner, Wicked Strong.
 
Accordingly, Jerkens told his jockey Rajiv Maragh, “It’s great to save ground all the way, but if you get him to that crown in the stretch, go ahead. They were taking off from there all day.”
 
The race unfolded as expected with the unbeaten 1.60-1 favorite Social Inclusion battling on the lead with long shot Schivarelli. Those two went head to head for the first half mile in :47.47. At that point Schivaelli began to fade and Social Inclusion opened a 1¾ length after the first six furlongs were run in 1:11.16.
 
Coming down the stretch Social Inclusion, who looked a little sweaty and washed out before loading in the gate, began to tire and bear out in the stretch.
 
The race was played out perfectly for Jerkens' horse, “The pace was pretty quick," said Jerkens. "When I saw him laying only five lengths off the lead just galloping I really thought we had a big shot. He was really comfortable behind a pretty fast pace, relatively close without any effort. I felt really good after that.”
 
Maragh said the race went just as planned, "It all unfolded well. I was going to let the horse dictate where he wanted to be. He fell into a nice groove early, and he finished up really strong. It seemed like he had a lot left, and coming down the lane I was just thinking 'Let's go to the wire first.' It worked out good."
 
Wicked Strong was impressive in 2013 as a two-year old. He finished third in the Remsen just behind Honor Code and Cairo Prince. Off he went to Florida for his three year-old campaign, but Wicked Strong did not like the Gulfstream Park surface. He had two unimpressive performances there.
 
Jerkens talked about Florida, “The first race [the Holy Bull] was terrible. He acted terrible in the gate and he was very nervous behind the gate. He ran a lot better the next time [an optional claiming allowance]. I thought it was worth a shot at the Florida Derby or the Wood Memorial and the closer we got to both races I decided I was going to train him up to the Wood Memorial.”
 
In the end Wicked Strong drew off to win by 3½ lengths over the previously unbeaten Samraat.  Wicked Strong paid $20.40 to win, earned $590,000, and a place in the Kentucky Derby gate with the 100 points. Wicked Strong would be the first Kentucky Derby starter for Jerkens if he manages to make the race.
 
  

 

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Older Comments about Wicked Strong wins the Wood Memorial...

Hard Spun, Summer Squall and especially With Approval...Wicked Strong made me a lot of money today and it will only will get better thanks to chrome winning and taking all the band wagon cheese.
Remember Charismatic! I love a longer shot to go up against CAL Chrome!
I though so too. The pace was very slow on the Remsen. Honor Code and Cairo Prince got away from him at the top of the stretch, but he was closing very fast at the end, and that's when CP and HC were at their best. I chalked out the last two as WS not liking the track at GP, and I scored nicely in the Wood. I think he has a real shot at the KD and that's who I'm going to bet on if he runs.
he was the best in the remsen as you watch the replays and look at the figures. just got back on netural ground.

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 Meet Matt Shifman 
 
 

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

 

Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

 

The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

   

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