Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Sue Kawczynski
April 5 will be anchored by the Grade 1, $1 million TwinSpires.com Wood
Memorial, Aqueduct Racetrack's major prep for the Kentucky Derby, to go
along with three supporting graded stakes: the Grade 1, $500,000 Carter
Handicap for sprinters, the Grade 2, $300,000 Gazelle for 3-year-old
fillies at 1 1/8 miles, and the Grade 3, $300,000 Bay Shore for
The Wood Memorial is likely to feature a rematch between New York-breds Samraat and Uncle Sigh, who finished first and second, respectively, in the Gotham and Withers. Social Inclusion, sensational winner of an allowance race in his last start at Gulfstream Park, is also expected to join the fray, along with Tonalist, a promising colt for Christophe Clement; Kristo, third in the Grade 2 San Felipe last out; Wicked Strong, fourth in an optional claimer when last on the track; Kid Cruz, winner of the Private Terms at Laurel Park in his most recent outing; Los Barrachos, who broke his maiden on March 8 at the Big A; and Effinex, 6 ¼-length winner of a New York-bred optional claimer on March 23.
Harpoon and Noble Moon are possible for the race.
The Carter Handicap appears to be light on horses but not on quality at this juncture with Grade 1 winners Sahara Sky and Strapping Groom headlining the field. Up-and-coming sprinters Central Banker and Clearly Now are also likely for the race, as well as 2012 Travers winner Golden Ticket.
is likely to make her return to the graded stakes ranks in the Gazelle.
The bay daughter of Street Sense - trained by Leah Gyarmati for
Treadway Racing Stable - made her 3-year-old debut in an optional
claimer on March 7 at the Big A, a race that was designed to be a prep
for the Gazelle. Got Lucky and My Miss Sophia, a pair from the Todd Pletcher barn, are also probable for the race, as well as Bird Maker, most recently fourth in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park; Regent's House, a convincing debut winner out of Ashado; Taris, sixth-place finisher in the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park last out; Vero Amore, runner-up in the Busher at the Big A two starts back; and Wraith, most recently third behind Sweet Reason.
The Bay Shore is expected to pit one of the best sprinters on the East Coast against one of the best from the West Coast in Havana and Kobe's Back.
The latter has an edge in fitness having already run twice this year -
including a win in the seven-furlong San Vicente - while the former will
be making his first start of the year after a successful 2-year-old
campaign that saw him take the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne at Belmont
Park and finish second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa
Anita Park. Also probable for the race are Financial Mogul, who will be turning back in distance after contesting the Grade 3 Gotham and Grade 2 Holy Bull; Loki's Vengeance, runner-up in the Fred "Cappy" Capossela last out; Oliver Zip, 4 ½-length winner of the Capossela last out; and Shivarelli, undefeated through two career starts, both at the Big A.
Danza and Long On Value are possible.