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HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

TwinSpires Wood Memorial Day All Stakes Pick 4

Samraat Gotham (2) 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Sue Kawczynski
 
Michael Barry from Across the Board with Mike B. and Matt Shifman of New York State of Racing join together to analyze Aqueduct’s All Stakes Pick 4 for the Wood Memorial card.
 
Race 8 – The Bay Shore
 
MB - I am kicking things off by going all in right off the bat with Kobe's Back. He is turning back to seven panels after a tough go of it in the Rebel where he was off slowly, really wide into the first turn while rank, and overall just never looking comfortable. He owns a smashing victory at today’s distance which came in his first start of the year in the grade 2 San Vicente and I expect him to be cruising by late. Others I considered using were Coup de Grace, Favorite Tale, and Financial Mogul, in that order. I was torn at first on Bob Baffert’s trainee The Admiral, but after watching his races I just wasn’t that impressed and do not think the pace is in his favor. Kobe’s Back or bust for me.
 
MS - I find this race to be the most wide-open in the sequence. Many of these talented three year-olds will be trying the seven furlong distance for the first time. Accordingly, I will be going five deep hoping to both stay alive and with the hope of hitting a decent price. The money in this first leg of the Pick 4 should be spread out quite a bit. Oliver Zip has improved in every one of his five starts with the last four at Aqueduct. Financial Mogul ran well in the Gotham and now cuts back to the distance of his maiden victory. The talented Coup de Grace returns to the races and Chad Brown is a master with fresh horses. Favorite Tale comes blazing from Parx with the highest BSF in the field. He is unbeaten in three starts, each better than the one before. Kobe’s Back is the likely favorite and deservedly so. I am a bit put off by all of the travel, but to be safe I will use him, also.
 
MB: single 8                  MS: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8
 
Race 9 – The Gazelle
 
MB - Nothing clever from me here. I trust absolutely none of these fillies at nine furlongs so I am going to hit the ALL button and hope to catch a price. They all have positives and negatives and I just couldn’t get a confident grasp on this race. I will sit back and relax and root for a bomb to blow up the tote. 
 
MS - My Miss Sophia may just be in front all the way around the track. This Pletcher filly cuts back from a mile and has a great chance to control the race right out of the gate. I am not going to get beat by the other Pletcher either. Got Lucky loves Aqueduct, gets Johnny V. back, and has finished second behind Untapable and Stopchargingmaria. Sweet Reason has a big class edge on this field and we know she will be running at the end of the nine furlongs.
 
MB: ALL                 MS: 2, 3, 4
 
10 – The Wood Memorial
 
Please note that Kid Cruz has been scratched due to a shoulder strain.
 
MB - First things first, let’s address the freak of the field, Social Inclusion. When you look at him on paper, that 111 Beyer just jumps up and smacks you in the face. He is a perfect 2/2 and has absolutely romped in those scores. I must admit though I am skeptical and as a result I will be playing against him. The way I look at him is that he has gotten everything his own way in those victories. In his maiden breaker the track was biased and in his allowance score he had a very, very lonely lead. He breaks widest of all today and will get no free pass up front. Even if he broke from the inside I would be against him. I must admit though, if he wins this from that post, he may be a freak and I wouldn’t be mad if he knocked me out at all. I would tip my hat to him and jump on his bandwagon heading for Louisville. 
 
Now that that’s out of the way let me talk about the pair that I landed on, Wicked Strong and Samraat. At 15/1 on the morning line Wicked Strong deserves another shot in my opinion. I am glad they got him out of Florida because it did not seem to agree with him at all. In his 2014 bow in the Holy Bull, he was agitated pre-race and was never involved in the actual running. I am going to draw a line through that one. In his next start in a tough allowance on February 22nd at Gulfstream, he was running against a bias towards frontrunners that day and still closed pretty well. He gets reunited with Rajiv Maragh today, a jock for whom he responded well in the Remsen, and gets a nice inside draw as well. It’s now or never for this colt and I hope he rewards me for my loyalty.
 
As for Samraat, his record speaks for itself. He has answered every call and keeps grinding out wins. He should be able to sit a nice trip today and he will be coming with his run down lane. He very well may roll into Kentucky unblemished.
 
MS - I have already said in my Wood Preview that I will not discount Samraat again. He was such an impressive looking horse in the Gotham paddock and he has not done anything wrong in his career. There is no way that I can leave Social Inclusion out. The 11 post position should allow him to get right to the lead and give him a chance to show just how good he is.  I want to give Wicked Strong a chance to show his best stuff on the Aqueduct main track. If the pace setters collapse he could be the horse that comes running at the end.
 
MB: 2, 8                MS: 2, 8, 11
 
11 – The Carter
 
MB - This is a fun race with a lot of cool horses in it. If I am alive in the Pick 4 it will be to Central Banker, Clearly Now, Golden Ticket, and Sahara Sky. Central Banker is coming into this off of a layoff and has been working well. I do worry about him breaking from the one hole a little bit, but if anyone can give him a good ride out of there it’s his pilot for today, Johnny V. Clearly Now also enters off of a layoff after last being seen in the grade 1 Cigar Mile at the end of November. In my opinion, if he did not clip heels entering the stretch that day he very well could be a grade 1 winner today. He is my top choice in here. Golden Ticket comes into this after running a very nice 2nd to Palace Malice in the grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap in his first race of the year. He broke from the rail that day and gets a better post for today. And last but certainly not least, Sahara Sky is coming in off of a nice win in the grade 2 San Carlos where he overcame the one hole. I am not positive he is as good as he was last year, but I respect him too much to leave him off of the ticket. He has been one of, if not the top one turn horse the last two years and Jerry Hollendorfer doesn’t just ship for nothing. This one should be primed for a top effort third off of the layoff.
 
MS - Clearly Now and Central Banker are getting a lot of buzz, but I don’t like them coming of their significant layoffs, not in a tough grade one like this. Golden Ticket’s 2014 return was a head loss to Palace Malice in the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Don’t forget his huge effort in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Sahara Sky loves the distance and Hollendorfer knows how to ship this guy east to run big races. I have to include Strapping Groom because I have been beaten out of a few horizontal wagers after I omitted a Jacobson/Drawing Away runner.
 
MB: 1, 2, 3, 6                MS: 3, 5, 6
 
Here are our Pick 4 tickets. Enjoy a great day of racing at the Big A and good luck! 

 

   

 

 

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Older Comments about TwinSpires Wood Memorial Day All Stakes Pick 4...

Amino come to think of it. You were a nose shy in the first leg of giving away the Bookends on the P4. Do i hear National Tout!!!!!!!!
Blabs are we looking for a small slice of the pie.
Hey Andy Scoggin, we were glad to help out with your sweet Pick 4 payout :)
Amino have to agree on the Carter. The only way you get paid is with Rudy going gate to wire. There truly is no speed at all.
Central Banker has run well fresh, but not into a grade 1 stake, Not sure dirt is his best surface.
really liking central banker in that race
Central Banker runs well fresh, Matt ;-)
Oliver Zip and Dads Caps would book-end a big P4 for the Pals.
Nice analysis gents! The way Aqu is playing today (Friday), the Wood sets up nicely for Wicked Strong. Also, like the fancy-schmancy Pick 4 play graphic. GL!

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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.

 

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