The Wood Memorial – Grade II (P8) [KYD]
AQU Race #6 1 1/8m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $750.000 For Three Year Olds.
This year’s KYD is looking one of the most open events for years. In past seasons we have seen Beach Dandy and Pretty Ferro march to the KYD as strong favorites but this year there seems to be a lot more chances appearing every week and no real stand outs. That situation as the time becomes short to make the field gets even more interesting this week with the running of the Wood Memorial. Will we see another rise to the top or will it be a race that is won by the draw a bit of luck and whatever the AI decides to do.
Here’s a look at the 14 runners:
1 Sky Dust Nakamura Stables Diaz H R Jr
Just having this trainers name next to a horse increases its chances these days and with two horses drawn 1 and 14 it will certainly be interesting to see what the Nak Factor can do for the two stable runners. This home bred gelding didn’t start off like a KYD contender finishing a 14 length last on debut but we all know that HRP doesn’t follow real life very well with debutantes so we should probably ignore that start. In his only other race he was mighty impressive over a mile and sixteenth when running a close stalk and then pulling away for an effortless three length win. His works improved again after that start so i would expect a better horse today and one that may just carry on the amazing start the trainer has had to the season.
2 Mexican Swagger John Henry Lanerie C J
This one was looking all sorts of good in state bred stakes races running up 4 state bred wins in a row two of them with penalties. His first ever defeat came in his fifth start when taken to the LA Futurity where he ran far better than his finishing position indicates. Going over ground for the first time he was pulled right back after an OK start and made up plenty of ground to be beaten just two lengths at the end. In his next start in the Lewis Stakes he stayed much closer to the pace although still in rear early on and stayed on nicely for fourth. It was at this point that Aer Stables who is already loaded with KYD hopes unloaded the gelding to John Henry for $175. The new stable took him to the Gotham in his only other start where again ran on very well to take third. I actually think that today may be his day as he gets a perfect draw to launch his challenge from and his work times just keep getting better. This may be the sale that Aer regrets.
3 Socrates Mb Stables Jaramillo E
With three runners in these races Mb Stables normally gets one in a good draw and he will be happy that this one got it. Another that made his name on the state bred circuit he has been brought along slowly since failing n the Grey Stakes last year and that paid off with a very good win in the Gotham last time out. His works arent as strong as some which is surprising for a horse from this stable but he certainly has the racing ability as he proved last time out. The perfect draw and the master in his camp he will probably start favorite to add to the growing list of qualifiers that we expect every year from Mb.
4 Rhossili Asgar Gutierrez R
After notching three good wins in a row i think we can safely say this horse hates wet ground as his 14 length last of 14 in the Rebel was just too bad to be true. Prior to that he had managed to overcome the wide draw and being in front to hold on for a game win in the El Camino and that would be the form line that best spells out his chances today. A much better draw today certainly adds to his chances and his last mile work was good enough to put him in the mix. The one downside maybe his jockey who has only managed one win from 30 rides this year. On the plus side he cost the stable five dollars so whatever he does will be a huge bonus.
5 Scafati Fractious Hernandez J J
Unbeaten as a two year old with two wins from two starts he was bought at auction for just $67 by LionKing Stable. The astute business man then managed to get the horse home from a wide gate in the Jerome and took the $500 offered to them by Fractious Stable, a very nice profit. In his two starts since he hasn’t lived up to the price tag but there was certainly excuses for his run in the Southwest and he ran much better in the Ruby Stakes last time suggesting he could run well today. His works certainly are among the best and his draw is very fair so if there was a time to start paying back his dues it will be today.
6 Bodemister D J C Racing Stables Lezcano J
Even though D J C stands at 19% wins for the year it has been a quite time for him on the TC front. He will be hoping that all changes today with this improving homebred who gets a good enough draw if things go his way. Only a fair juvenile season he won gamely on seasonal debut over a sprint trip and then improved when upped to seven furlongs last time out when winning the Runyon. It looks like he will improve further for this step up in distance but its hard to tell whether he can improve far enough. Certainly a chance and he wouldn’t be a surprise winner but there are still enough question marks in an even field to put you off him.
7 Sars Aer Stables Lopez P
If ever there was an aptly named KYD winner this year it would be this one. Certainly early on in the year he would’ve been a leading fancy after winning the Nashua as a juvenile and then the Remsen on his debut as a three year old but his winning streak was interrupted by a wide draw in the Withers when the race engine decided to put him on the lead and he could only manage second. I must admit he didnt lose much respect for that defeat and still topped many lists but his last start was less encouraging. That effort was in the Gotham when he had a decent draw but ran a very one paced eighth after having a difficult run. His works still say he is still the horse that won the Remsen and with a bit of race engine luck he could well bounce back for a stable that is buzzing this year with three year old prospects.
8 Obeah Mon Night Rider Stables Sanchez M J
After taking his maiden impressively at the end of last year he was quickly upped in grade for his three year old season when running in the CAC Derby in January. He got a fair way back that day but finished like a train to grab fourth just a length off the winner and his trainer started planning an assault on the KYD qualifiers. He got a wide draw in the El Camino and as can happen was left out the back and with no chance very early on by the race engines AI. He stayed on for a never dangerous seventh and wisely his trainer set about getting some of his confidence back before another go at getting into the KYD. A nice allowance win at GG will do wonders for him coming into this as will a 1.36 and 3 work but you still have to look very hard to find his winning chance against a decent field.
9 Graveyard Mb Stables Talamo J
The second stable runner he has had all favors from the random draw generator but still hasn’t broken through and one wonders if he fails today whether he will be taken back to the turf where he has run his best races to date. Having said that though he has gained zero points in both his attempts for KYD qualification so far he has run rather well and i wouldn’t be writing him off. I liked his effort when a close fourth in the Davis Stakes and then again when running on into fifth in the Rebel so he is right on the cusp and wont need to many things to go his way to get back to winning ways today.
10 The End Team 7 Illusions Vargas J A Jr
Well you cant blame a man for trying and to be honest Team 7 turns up winners more than most even if they aren’t the best horse on paper. He made all to win by a nose in a state bred maiden last time after being beaten in a maiden claimer so on the face of it with this draw he should have little chance. However a sub 1.37 work and an inform trainer and jockey are on his side and believe me i have seen worse horses win this race in the past.
11 Sail Away Mb Stables Castellano J J
This is another from the stable who has been a little disappointing since winning a good race but this is a good sort with grade one winning form and you can never write that off even from this nasty draw. He hasn’t actually made the first three since that grade one win which is more of a reflection of HRP than his ability but he has been in the deep end in every start since. Fourth in the Sham and sixth in the Southwest his works are much better than his performances so far but that could all change today with a sprinkling of Mb’s magic dust. I am thinking he may just use this ones gate to put him near the front today and who knows that change of tactics may be enough.
12 Mystery Fractious Flores O
Bought for $150 at the end of last year this trainer certainly doesn’t mind paying the big bucks but so far his name is proving rather mocking to the new owner. He wasn’t far behind in the Sham and the Risen Star and his works are in the ball park so whilst you cant write him off he does have to go into the unlikely pile from this draw.
13 Charleys Latte Estero Farms Tunon M
His trainer will be bitterly disappointed by this draw and i must admit in their shoes i may think about pulling the plug and fighting another day but at the moment this horse takes his chances and if the race engine is kind would have a very good chance. He won the Withers a shade comfortably before a solid third in the Fountain OF Youth so if he was drawn inside you would be all over his chances especially when you see his 1.36 and 2 mile work just a few days ago. If he goes back from the draw which seems likely he will need some gaps to open up, f they do he has a winning chance.
14 Telladifferentstory Nakamura Stables Fukumoto D
The second stable runner he gets the double whammy of the coffin draw and the 9% jockey. Surely even the Nak factor cant help him but don’t be so sure. A wide draw in the Holy Bull saw the race engine put him in the lead and he very nearly hung on going down in the end by just a neck. Could that happen today? Well unless it rains in which case forget him i can see him going for the lead again and if he crosses and backs them up, well, the Nak Factor may just be the difference.
One of the best Wood Memorials for years as far as depth goes it is hard to find the winner in this field and a lot will rely on the race engines decisions. I like Mexican Swagger and Sars to run well and i wouldn’t write off Charleys Latte if the draw is kind to him. Apart from that take your pick of Mb’s runners and you wont go far wrong.