The Wood Memorial – Grade II [KYD]
AQU Race #7 1 1/8m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $750.000 For Three Year Olds.
1 Federation D J C Racing Stables Beschizza A
It is great to see the stable rewarded with an inside gate for once but this gelded son of Distant Sunset looks up against it even with a favorable draw. He took a while to break his maidens but did it in a good race over a mile running the lead for much of the race and keeping on strongly. He then went t the Withers but after finding a good spot struggled to see out the trip and weakened into tenth. He was better last time out in the Battaglia memorial restrained a bit more and keeping on better at the end to take fourth. He has worked a sub 1.37 since so deserves another go but he will have to step up his game to get the win today.
2 Spiced Smokey Stover Baird E T
Some horses and stables get bad draw after bad draw but this horse has enjoyed a career so far of good draws and gets yet another one today. A champion of the state-bred circuit he proved to be good enough when stepping out of the FL breds when taking the KY Jockey club at the end of the year, a win that inevitably put him firmly into the KYD picture. On his seasonal reappearance he only just failed to beat Present Tense in the Holy Bull giving her plenty of weight and i must admit after that effort it seemed like he was on his way to the KYD. His last run however was just a little disappointing finishing fifth in the Gotham. He was beaten less than a length so it was hardly a bad run but he didn’t find much under pressure that day and he will have to put that behind him to win today. I am happy to put that last effort down to second upitus so he must be put into winning calculations today.
3 Model Commander TwinTowersRacing Saez G
Only a smidgen behind Spiced in the Gotham last time that was a much better effort after three no shows in his races before that. This stable can produce a giant killer so from this perfect draw i wouldn’t be leaving him out but it does look like he has a little bit of improvement to find. One thing i do like about him is that he has ade ground in just about all his races so this nine furlongs should really suit him.
4 Dont Ever Try It LionKing Stables Eramia R E
He was very impressive in taking a sprint maiden last year and then a decent race in the Pasco in his seasonal reappearance. His effort in the Davis however seemed to show some kinks in his armor as he really was a no show in 11th so his trainer went back to the drawing board to try and find some lengths. Gelding a horse at HRP can make no difference or a few lengths difference depending on what is written in their code and that turned out to be the answer as LionKing took the drastic decision and reaped the benefits in his last run. Breaking last in the TAM Derby his fate looked sealed under the new race engine but he bucked the trend with a huge finish to grab third and definitely went into some black books. It remains to be seen whether that improvement came because of the muddy track that day or the gelding operation but his works say he can run on dry so i am willing to go with gelding being the answer. A real chance to get into the KYD today.
5 Good Guy Arindel Pereira T J
He has had a busy start to the year after breaking maidens in December and he has shown one or two glimmers of class and may sneak in here under the radar. Poor in the Jerome but better in the El Camino i think his best start came in his last run when running on nicely into sixth in the LA Derby. The quick back up is the unknown here but if it works for him he may be the sleeper.
6 High Time Oquinn Farm Leparoux J R
He has mixed turf and dirt and has performed well on both. The winner of the Pilgrim on the grass at two his best effort on the dirt came in the LA Futurity when a fairly close sixth, form that certainly leads into a race like this. His works on both surfaces are nice so whilst he is tough to weigh up a case can certainly be made for his chances.
7 Hufflepuff Arindel Lezcano J
I don’t know how many times i do this where i finally come across one at first glance that doesn’t look good enough and then i see one of the fastest mile works in the field next to the name and have to look again. With three races on turf for one win and one on dirt for a fair sixth in the Swale he does look out of his depth here but that work keeps tapping me on the shoulder and a look at his Swale run did see him making up ground nicely at the end. The trainer has the magic touch these days and if he can find a way with this one then there are some plus’s to be found.
8 Off Center Mb Stables Hernandez R M
The trainer hasn’t been so dominant in these qualifiers as usual but he still holds a very strong hand and looks to add one here that may have been overlooked in the stables talent pool. Only broke his maiden at the start of the year and had to go down to optional claimers to get a second win but like most horses in the stable he seems to be able to work stakes quality times and they must make you sit up and take notice. On form he has little chance but since when has form mattered !
9 Up In Smoke Fractious Davis D
I talked earlier about some stables and horses seem to get great draws whilst others seem to get badly treated by the random draw monster, well this one certainly falls into the unlucky pile when it comes to draws. Under Jive Inc he only had one draw inside the top half in all his races which seems beyond random, but considering that he is still one of the most talked about horses in the three year old ranks. When he took the grade one DMR futurity from the car park draw he went straight into everyone’s Derby prospect book and despite two horrible draws in the Champagne and the BC Juvenile he didn’t lose that tag as he ran very well from impossible positions. As luck would have it his only good draw came in the Smarty Jones when he was short of a run and he did OK to be third but then the draw monster came back in The Southwest and The Rebel and he finished down the field and a bit disappointing. Bought by Fractious there is no doubt this horse has a ton of talent and if the new trainer can find some way to get that onto the track he would be a winning chance.
10 Jump The Line Mb Stables Court J K
Claimed last time for just $40 the champion clearly saw something worth investing in as he has sent him straight to the big time. Down the field in both the Holy Bull and The Gotham it is hard to see what Mb saw but i guess today we will get an idea, although he could be just an impulse buy because of some strong works. Nothing in his form lines but once again the champ has got a stakes winning work out of him so who knows, anything can happen at HRP.
11 Slavery Is Wrong Gdp Inc Silvera Ru
Well its a great name and would make a great headliner but the only run that really qualifys him for a chance here was his last effort on a muddy track and that sort of form is hard to read. The TAM Derby was one of those crazy HRP races where the opening half was run as quick as a dry track sprint and the second half was run as quick as i could run so it was no surprise that he made ground into fourth but the value of that effort is impossible to assess. He has the qualifying work time so he is not a forlorn hope but the draw makes it even tougher for him to pick his way home.
12 Winstorm Fractious Saenz D
He was bought for $250 and has failed to pay back one cent since although he did look a good buy in his first effort for the new owner when a close fifth in the KY Jockey Club. Since then he has been disappointing with two poor efforts and this wide draw will make it hard for him to find his way out of the slump. Working pretty much the same as everything else so not completely out of it but he will need to some favors from the race engine to be the winner.
13 All Take Alydar Stables Centeno D E
I really like this one and was horrified when i saw the draw but he ran well enough in the Grey Stakes from the car park to suggest he can overcome it. Ran a very nice race when a close third in the Davis Stakes and then i was impressed with his win in the TAM Derby which was an odd race but he won despite a crazy early pace and muddy ground which i don’t think really suited him. I think this one may be very much under rated and i hope the draw monster and race engine don’t conspire to ruin his chances of getting to the big dance.
14 Mr Nix Nooks Martyparty Adorno A
Beat All Take a nose in the Grey Stakes and then ran well in the Lecomt when third making him a decent chance in the Fountain Of Youth last time out. The race ended up as one of those HRP funny races with a breakneck early pace and he just never ran a beat ending up a long way back in eleventh. He is definitely better that the FOY effort but has been handed the car park draw which is certainly heaping salt on the open wound. He would have chances at his best but it isn’t how good he is that matters when it comes to winning from wide it is a whole heap of other factors he will have little say in.
The Wood memorial is a funny race as it often throws up a field without any of the super star names in it. I really like All Take here despite the horrible draw but whilst i value his chances i also realize his ability has little to do with whether he can win and so much will rely on what the race engine does with 14 instructions. Outside of him there are some obvious chances with the likes of Spiced who has the best chance on paper coupled with the best draw and should go off a fairly short priced favorite and Up In Smoke who deserves some luck. There are plenty of chances though as everything is working similar times and so much depends on what the race engine does, good luck to all.