When the March Madness picks are set each season, it's never surprising to see the Gonzaga Bulldogs on the shortlist of potential NCAA Tournament champions.
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The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Picks For 2018
Wood Memorial Preview and Odds
Currently sitting comfortably in a Derby qualifying spot with 64 points, Enticed will try to add to that total and get his final work in before heading to Churchill Downs. Coming in off a 2 3/4 length win in the (G3) Gotham Stakes, where he was geared down late by jockey Junior Alverado, he's the morning line favorite for this race at odds of 6-5.
A Kentucky-bred trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Enticed broke his maiden first time out at Saratoga last September, and then ran third in the (G1) Champagne Stakes, finishing just behind current Kentucky Derby contenders Firenze Fire and Good Magic. Skipping the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, he then won the (G2) Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill, a race that featured six other colts that appear on the Derby leaderboard right now.
He next tried southern Florida racing, where he ran fourth in the (G2) Holy Bull. Returning to New York, he won the Gotham coming from back in the pack and going four wide into the final turn before tracking down front-running longshot Old Time Revival. While he'll likely be a bit closer to the pace on Saturday, he's not a horse that needs the lead, and you can expect him to once again track off the frontrunners and then kick on as they enter the lane.
California Invader Trying For the Upset
Although a few of the colts in the field already have Kentucky Derby points, none have been outstanding so far in the road to the Derby, and that leaves it open for a newcomer to try and come in and grab the big points and a spot in the Derby gates. Shipping in from California, the Bob Baffert-trained Restoring Hope (4-1) ran second and third in two starts last year, but then broke his maiden in his first chance of 2018 at Santa Anita going 1 1/16 miles. He needs to find a bit more speed to get by Enticed, but could very well prove to be better than the rest.
After winning three of his first four lifetime races, including the (G1) Champagne and the (G3) Sanford Stakes, Firenze Fire (6-1) ran seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and has since struggled a bit in 2018. He barely won the Jerome Stakes against a very small field at Aqueduct in January, was second in the (G2) Withers in February, and then took a real step back in running fourth in the Gotham. He's talented enough to get in the money in this field, but he's going to really have to step up from his recent efforts to beat Enticed.
Another one that looked good in 2017 but hasn't come through yet this year is Vino Rosso (9-2) for trainer Todd Pletcher. He won his first two lifetime last fall, but since moving up to the graded-stakes ranks he's been third in the (G3) Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and then fourth in the (G2) Tampa Bay Derby. Like Firenze Fire he can be competitive in this group, but is hard to recommend for the win.
The Wood Memorial Stakes goes Saturday, April 7 from Aqueduct Race Track in New York. It's race #10 of 11 on a day that earlier features the (G1) Carter Handicap. Expected post time for the Wood is 5:55 PM Eastern.
Entries w/ ML Odds
- Heartfullofstars (20-1)
- Firenze Fire (6-1)
- Evaluator (20-1)
- Old Time Revival (6-1)
- Enticed (6-5)
- Catch Twenty Two (50-1)
- King Zachary (20-1)
- Restoring Hope (4-1)
- Vino Rosso (9-2)
Wood Memorial Picks
- 1) #5 - Enticed
- 2) #8 - Restoring Hope
- 3) #2 - Firenze Fire
- 4) #9 - Vino Rosso
On the biggest day of Kentucky Derby qualifying this year, you can bet the Wood Memorial, as well as the Blue Grass Stakes form Kentucky and the Santa Anita Derby from California with an account at a top-rated online racebook.
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