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Wood Memorial Fun Facts

The field is set for Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack, and in the spirit of fun, we bring you some facts about the race’s six starters you won’t find in their past performances.

 

Eskendereya (4-5 favorite on morning line)

Correct pronunciation of name: s-ken-DREY-uh

 

Derivation of name: Eskendereya is the Egyptian Arabic word for Alexandria, the second largest city in Egypt, which is located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

    

Factoids: “It’s a very economical style with which he carries himself,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, referring to the low manner in which Eskendereya carries his head and neck during races.  “I think horses, when their heads are down – and that’s why we add equipment like a shadow roll – when they bring their heads down, they’re kind of engaging their body a little more, being a little more efficient in the way they’re pushing off.”  Thomas added that Eskendereya likes to have his tongue pulled and “humors” his stall ball.

 

Jackson Bend (4-1)

Derivation of name: “My wife and I had bought a lot on Fort Loudon Lake outside Knoxille, Tennessee, in a development called Jackson Bend,” said Fred Brei, breeder and part-owner of Jackson Bend. “We liked it so much, we named the horse after it. We never did get around to building on it, but we still own it.”

 

Favorite foods: “He just loves alfalfa, screams for alfalfa,” said trainer Nick Zito.

 

Factoids: “He’s just a neat, little horse. He likes to look around at his surroundings.  He’s a little pepper pot though, you have to be careful with him,” Zito said.

 

Awesome Act (9-2)

Derivation of name: Derived from his breeding – by Awesome Again out of Houdini’s Honey.

 

Favorite foods: “We brought all his food with us from England,” said Wayne Tanner, assistant to trainer Jeremy Noseda.  “His feed is Baileys.”  Baileys Horse Feeds is based in Essex, UK, sources many of its feed ingredients locally and maintains an equine nutrition team which “constantly [reviews] the latest scientific research into feed technology and equine nutrition, and [applies] relevant developments to [their] product range.”  Awesome Act is also a fan of carrots.

 

Factoids: Tanner said that Awesome Act has adapted well to the “American way” of training.  Though his routine at home involves two daily uphill canters and two breezes a week, he is now comfortable going “a bit longer and a bit slower” on the training track each morning.  The horse has also developed an affinity for Beautiful Belmont Park – “He acts as though he’s been here his whole life,” Tanner said. 


Schoolyard Dreams (5-1)

Derivation of name: “I grew up five minutes from Belmont in Little Neck and Douglaston,” said co-owner Eric Fein.  “At night, we’d hang out at the public school yard, P.S. 187. We’d go to school sometimes in the daytime and to the racetrack other days. Great memories. My youth was a great time. I always said if I ever got lucky enough to own racehorses, I was going to name one after that school.”

 

Favorite foods: “He gets a bottle of Guinness every day,” Fein said.  “It’s part of Derek Ryan’s training regimen. The not so good ones get Bud.”

 

Factoids: “He’s kind of very immature,” Fein said. “He hasn’t figured out what he’s doing. He’s got talent, but he needs that killer instinct that [Carter runner] Musket Man has.”

 

Most Happy Fella (15-1)

Derivation of name: He was named for Most Happy Fella, a standardbred who won pacing’s Triple Crown in 1970 and went on to become one of the great standardbred sires.  Robert J. Quigley, owner of Most Happy Fella – the Wood entrant - used to own harness horses.

 

Favorite foods: “He loves carrots,” said trainer Bill Badgett.  “When we come down the shed row with carrots, he gets to screaming and hollering louder than anyone.”

 

Factoids: “He’s a genuine, loving animal with a big heart,” said Badgett’s assistant Kevin Taylor.  “I think if he was a human being though, he’d finish up work and go to the gym – probably one of those guys who’d have a six pack and do a lot of pushups.” 


Carnivore (20-1)

Derivation of name: Owner James McIngvale named the horse after his army buddies, all of whom are carnivores.   

 

Favorite foods: “He loves to eat,” McIngvale said.  “We’re training him on HOW — hay, oats and water. But we’re feeding him a lot. We’ve got a night watchman, so we feed him at night too.”

 

Factoids: “He’s overcome a lot,” McIngvale said.  “He had EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis, which causes neurological distress) last year, and it was pretty bad. It was touch and go, so he’s a fighter.”

 

 

 

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Older Comments about Wood Memorial Fun Facts...

Fun Wood Memorial article. Jackson Bend better chow down on his fav food (alfalfa) if he wants to keep with with this bunch.

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