The Wood Memorial (KYD) (Grade 2)- $750.000 Purse
AQU- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
April 7, 2018
Stables across the game had the opportunity to participate in a “pick em” for the biggest races this weekend. The Wood Memorial, naturally, was one of those races, and when looking at the picks, we can see that there was not a single trainer on HRP that believed Ride Or Die was going to win the Wood Memorial. He was the only horse in the six combined races of the “pick em” that did not get a single bet. This led to him going off at odds of 178/1. Somehow, this overlooked horse pulled off the most stunning victory. How this happened was likely due to a major tactical change employed by trainer, Delta Farms. Unlike prior races where he tried to come from off the pace, this time he went out to the lead quickly and looked to wire the field. There was a race early in this career where he was at the front as well, but the fractions in that race were not as quick as they were here. Plus, it was a long time ago, and in those five months, Ride Or Die has matured quite a bit. No one saw this coming, and no one is happier then trainer Delta Farms as his colt finds his way to the KYD next month. Ride Or Die will look to reverse history in the KYD as that race as never had the Wood Memorial winner finish in the top three. For now, Delta Farms will celebrate winning the race for the first time. Aboard the winner was R Maragh, picking up his first win in this race as a virtual jockey. Hasn’t won it as a virtual trainer, either, by the way. Congratulations to them! The winning time of 1:48.33 is one of the slower winning times when it has been run on a fast track, but it is all that was necessary. Let’s take a look at it!
(½ Mile- :47.08)- From his outside post position, we see Eclipse My Knowledge, from Nakamura Stables, look to take the lead, but an aggressive start by eventual race winner Ride Or Die, from Delta Farms would not allow Eclipse My Knowledge to take the lead. As they moved around the opening turn, it would be Ride Or Die as the quickest, and he began to pull away from the rest of the field momentarily. Midway through the backstretch run, Worst Case Scenario (Mb Stables) looked to join Ride Or Die on the front end. After half a mile, they were side by side, and leading the field just over two lengths. Eclipse My Knowledge had settled into third, and had Local Hero (D J C Racing Stables) just to his inside, with Pure Gifts (Mb Stables) looking to come through on the rail. Running in the middle of the back were No Chill (Team 7 Illusions), Flying Around (Mb Stables), and Bandito (TwinTowersRacing). Following them were four trailers: Lafsim (Alydar Stables), Mistress Seeker (Aer Stables), Sacred Sacrifice (Fractious), and Mist Maker (Crocker Ggs).
(3/4 Mile- 1:10.71)- Not much to speak of during this next segment of the race as the field completes the backstretch trip, and proceeds to move around the turn. No one is really making a noteworthy move. Ride Or Die continues to look strong at the front and leads Worst Case Scenario by half a length. As the field gets closer to the stretch, we were likely in store for some excitement soon.
(Top Of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- The big longshot, Ride Or Die, continues to look very strong on the front end. Worst Case Scenario tried to put a run on him, but as they move into the stretch, Ride Or Die pulls from that rival. Local Hero has now caught Worst Case Scenario for second, and was in the best spot to make a run at Ride Or Die. Eclipse My Knowledge was clinging to fourth, but was now three lengths back, and falling into the clutches of both No Chill and Flying Around. Both of them had plenty of work to do in order to make a bid for the win. Sacred Sacrifice was starting to look good in the outermost lane, but had four lengths to make up. Mistress Seeker and Bandito were running out of time to begin their moves, and Pure Gifts was starting to tire to the inside. The lane was available for Mist Maker on the rail, and it was conducive to advance his position significantly, but catching Ride Or Die was seeming out of reach. Lafsim was lacking stretch response.
(Finish- 1:48.33)- Ride Or Die continues to lead the way in the stretch, and neither Worst Case Scenario nor Local Hero were putting much pressure on him most of the way through. Late in the stretch, the biggest cause of concern for Ride Or Die would be in the form of Flying Around who was making headway late. That one put forth a valiant effort, but Ride Or Die still had enough in the tank to hang on for the upset victory at incredible odds! Flying Around and Local Hero end up in a dead heat for second, and Mist Make made that rail trip in the stretch work well to get up for fourth, edging Worst Case Scenario, who sees the worst case scenario of being a close fifth, and no check or KYD points. Sacred Sacrifice should not be overlooked, as he ran very well in the outside lane, and with a little better trip, he gets a piece of this purse. Mistress Seeker ran well in the stretch, too, but only gets up for 7th. Eighth place Eclipse My Knowledge was within three lengths of the winner, and he would be followed by No Chill, Bandito, Pure Gifts, and Lafsim.
About The Winner: Ride Or Die, trained by Delta Farms, and ridden to victory by R Maragh, is a three year old colt by Slow Rider, and out of Viking Juliet. He was bred in Kentucky by Delta Farms, and they have been together throughout. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his second in five starts, and first stake win of any sort. His career earnings are now $464.320.
Time: :47 1:103 1:351 1:481
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 8 – 3 Paid 1,371.70, 8 – 5 Paid 92.30
$1 Trifecta: 8 – 3 – 5 Paid 555.90, 8 – 5 – 3 Paid 555.90
Scratched: La Grande Terre, Halted(L)
Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES