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
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 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.
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.
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!