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HRN Original Blog:
The Weekly Tout

Excited For The Wood

What’s the most important Kentucky Derby prep race? Since I’m attending the Wood Memorial, I’ll say that’s the most important prep race. I know, I’m selfish, but it’s one of my finer qualities. My comrades here at Horse Racing Nation think it’s a pretty important prep race as well, naming it third in a Top Ten List of the best Derby Prep Races. In its 89 year history, the Wood Memorial has produced 11 winners who went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Four of them won the Triple Crown including, Gallant Fox 1930, Count Fleet 1943, Assault in 1946, and Seattle Slew in 1977. That’s pretty heady stuff.

 

It’s not only the Wood that has folks talking, the under card is huge at Aqueduct on April 5th, with purses totaling $2,100,000. Sure, we have the $1,000,000 Wood Memorial (G1) worth 100 points for the winner in the race towards the Derby. Also on the card is the $300,000 Gazelle (G2), the $300,000 Bay Shore (G3) and finally the $500,000 Carter Handicap (G1). The Carter is the only stakes race in which there was a three way dead heat for first back in 1944. This will be the 114th running of the Carter Handicap.


Aqueduct, built on the old Brooklyn Water Works site opened in 1884. Was rebuilt in 1955-59 and went through another overhaul 40 or so years later. Aqueduct also held the Belmont Stakes from 1960-64 while its neighbor track Belmont, was getting its face lift. And Aqueduct is the only track that is within the city limits of NYC. Belmont, only eight miles away is across the New York City line.

 

I know that I’m sounding like a running dog lackey for NYRA, but they are putting on a big show for me on Saturday. Big purses brings in quality horses, and there’s a graded stakes race Pick 4 at the Big A that is guaranteed at $500,000 which I will take a flew looks at while I’m there. Some chump has to win it and it might as well be me.

 

With all of that going on however, I’m pretty excited about the Wood itself. Since I’m not Kentucky bound in May, I’m looking at the Wood as my Derby. I’m wearing my cool hat, but I’m traveling alone this time. There is a chance I’ll be graced with a possible visit from my niece Jenna and her husband Sean who are a very happy couple from New Jersey, but I can’t tell you why just yet.  Not why they are from New Jersey, but why they are happy. And if they do show up, they will be asking me who I’m looking at.

 

I’m looking at two horses so far from a list of probable starters. The undefeated Samraat leads the list that also includes Uncle Sigh, Noble Moon, Tonalist, and my other favorite Social Inclusion. Hold the phone because also looking at the starting gate for the Wood is, Effinex, Kid Cruz, and another tough possible entry is Wicked Strong.

 

Social Inclusion, trained by Manny Azpurua, broke the track record at Gulfstream Park, running the one mile and a sixteenth at 1.40.97. Undefeated in two starts, he broke the track record and beat Honor Code in his second race. I like this horse a lot. The phrase crazy fast has been used with this horse. Fluke or budding superstar, we’ll see Saturday.

 

The other hot prospect is Samraat. Undefeated in five starts, his latest win was at the Gotham also run at Aqueduct. Trained by Rick Violette, Samraat beat Uncle Sigh and In Trouble in that race and looks to make it six wins in a row.

 

I’ll be there at the Big A. I’ll be the guy holding the huge check, getting my picture taken (with a dern fine hat) for hitting the Pick 4. Join me so we can together hear those famous words heard in the paddock area…Riders Up.

 

P.S. I just read that the Mac and Cheese truck is going to be at Aqueduct. YES!

 

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Older Comments about Excited For The Wood...

I like Uncle Sigh!
this year? ALmost every year with the exception for I Want Revenge when they had a new track maintenance director
If you like horses that early and run fast you've got to love this year's running of the Wood Memorial.

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Meet Johnnie Carrier

 

With 10 years of writing a humor column for his home town paper under his belt, Johnnie Carrier has decided to try something different. He is a graduate of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s Clown College Class of 1977 and traveled the West with Circus Vargas in 1979.

 In the 80’s, Carrier lived in New York City and Boston, but he settled down however in the smallest city in Massachusetts late in the decade and married Dawn Luskin in ’88. David was born in 1991 and has been blessed with his father’s sense of humor, but luckily his mother’s good looks.

 Racing has been more than a casual interest having lived so close to Saratoga. He started going to the track at a very young age with his parents and has tried to instill that passion into his son by taking him at the same age. In 2003, Carrier started to write as a freelance writer with the North Adams Transcript and can be followed there at the paper’s website.