Check out our predictions and odds for the 2021 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct!
|M Franco||D Velazquez|
|E Cancel||C Brown|
|K Carmouche||T Pletcher|
|I Ortiz Jr||C Brown|
|J Ortiz||T Pletcher|
|T Gaffalione||B Walsh|
|7||CANDY MAN ROCKET||15/1
|J Alvarado||W Mott|
|T McCarthy||J Jerkens|
|D Haddock||P Pearce|
$2 Trifecta part wheel – Prevalence and Brooklyn Strong over Prevalence and Brooklyn Strong over Risk Taking, Crowded Trade, Weyburn, Dynamic One and Candy Man Rocket = $20
$2 Trifecta part wheel – Prevalence and Brooklyn Strong over Risk Taking, Crowded Trade, Weyburn, Dynamic One and Candy Man Rocket over Prevalence and Brooklyn Strong = $20
Brooklyn Strong (8/1)
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Risk Taking, an impressive winner of the Grade 3 Withers in his last start, and Prevalence, unbeaten and untested in two sharp-looking wins at Gulfstream Park, headline a contentious field of nine sets to face off in Saturday’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
Risk Taking will be joined by stablemate Crowded Trade as a powerful 1-2 punch for top trainer Chad Brown. The former has won two straight over the track and at the distance since the addition of blinkers in his third start, while the latter made a favorable impression in his stakes debut when second in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct in his second career start.
Prevalence, meanwhile, ships in from South Florida where he was ultra-impressive in dominating a maiden field and then an allowance field in his only two starts. The Godolphin homebred son of Medaglia d’Oro is trained by Brenden Walsh and will be ridden again by Tyler Gaffalione.
Several others in the $750,000 feature merit serious consideration, including two graded stakes winners at Aqueduct. Weyburn accounted for last month’s Grade 3 Gotham, while Brooklyn Strong won the Grade 2 Remsen last December.
The 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial will offer the top four finishers Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a scale of 100-40-20-10.
|Wood Memorial Information|
|What||Wood Memorial (Grade 2)|
|When||Saturday, April 3 — 5:58 pm Eastern time|
|How to Watch||NBC Sports Network|
Blinkers on seemed to do the trick for this son of Medaglia d’Oro, as he transformed from a horse going nowhere fast in his first two starts to a two-turn powerhouse at Aqueduct in his next two. While I am not sure he matches a few others here in raw talent, it’s hard to look past the way he has finished off his competition in two straight victories over the track. He clearly likes the 9 furlong trip of the Wood and should have enough early pace in here to give him a shot to make it three in a row. This will be his toughest test yet, but he is an obvious threat.
The international super stable Godolphin has been on a roll of late with impressive stakes victories by Mystic Guide, Essential Quality, and Rebel’s Romance, and there is good reason to believe that roll can continue on Saturday with Prevalence. The good-looking son of Medaglia d’Oro looked the part of a potential star in two very impressive wins at Gulfstream Park. With good tactical speed and plenty of talent, look for him to be involved early as he tries to announce himself a real Kentucky Derby contender. His test will come at the top of the lane to see if he is a true classic-type horse. It’s no easy spot, but I do believe he is the most likely winner of the Wood.
The other one from the powerful barn of Chad Brown, this son of More Than Ready has done nothing wrong so far in only two career starts. After a solid rally carried him to victory in his debut, he climbed the ladder to try graded stakes racing in his second start and nearly took home the win in the Gotham. Only a stubborn rival in Weyburn prevented him from coming in here undefeated. Unlike his stablemate, though, he has yet to be the distance and may have shown some distance limitations in not getting past for the victory last time. Still, he is clearly a talented horse who is a danger in here.
This one was let go at huge odds last time when he pulled off the upset in the Gotham. You will not see that kind of odds on Saturday, but still, I would not expect the well-bred son of Pioneer of the Nile to be vying for favoritism. A late nominee to the Triple Crown, the Canadian-bred actually has plenty to like again. He has good tactical speed, has won over the track, should appreciate the added distance, and is a proven game. Not my top pick, but a dangerous competitor.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen this graded stakes-winning New York-bred at the races, as his planned return had to be delayed a bit. The good news for the Remsen winner is that he has been working very well for his return down at Parx. We already know the gelded son of Wicked Strong likes the distance and the track. In fact, I believe he is one of the most proven horses in the field. The four-month layoff is obviously a concern, but I expect the odds to be right for a horse, who on paper, looks as good as anyone in the field. As around the fifth wagering choice, I believe he offers the best value in the field.
An easy winner of a maiden race at Aqueduct last time, this son of Union Rags finally lived up to his odds, as he has taken plenty of money throughout his career. On the plus side, he has run against plenty of good horses in his losing maiden tries before the breakthrough win. Even on Saturday, I would expect him to take more wagering interest than most horses who have won only a maiden in four tries. On the plus side, he is improving. Another move forward could see him as a factor, but he is not one of the ones I like best in here.
After a poor effort in the Tampa Bay Derby, his odds will shoot significantly up on Saturday. If you believe you can draw a line through that one, you might have an interesting longshot in here, but still, I question whether his win in the Sam F. Davis was quite good enough to handle these. He should sit a closer trip this time and have a shot at the top of the lane, but even with the big change in odds, I like too many others better.
After taking three tries to break his maiden against Pennsylvania-breds, he frolicked in the slop last time winning an allowance race at Parx nicely on the front end. It was his best race yet but still leaves him a long way away from the competition he will see in the Wood Memorial. The sharp bump-up in class makes it difficult to like his chances against this salty field of 3-year-olds.
He actually finished behind Market Maven in that sloppy allowance race at Parx last time, and much as I said for that one, he looks overmatched as he moves way up in class for Saturday’s big Kentucky Derby prep at Aqueduct.
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
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