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Wood Memorial Picks
Wood Memorial 2017 Better Bets
By Jessica Paquette
Though the Wood Memorial was dealt a blow in 2017 when the prestigious race was downgraded to a Grade 2 and the purse cut to $750,000, the race still remains a major prep for the Kentucky Derby. The race, which will be contested at a mile and an eighth at Aqueduct, has attracted a field of eight colts and geldings.
Todd Pletcher will saddle two of the contenders, including the up-and-coming Battalion Runner who has been tabbed as the favorite at odds of 2-1 on the morning line. The son of Unbridled’s Song was purchased for $700,000 as a yearling and has won two of his three starts.
He broke his maiden in his second attempt and followed that up with an allowance victory at Gulfstream Park.
Since then, he has been training forwardly at Palm Beach Downs and will be stepping up to stakes competition for the first time. Also coming out of the Pletcher barn is Bonus Points, a son of Majestic Warrior. The bay colt has been on the board in five of his seven starts and is trying to earn his second career victory. He was last seen finishing fourth in the Withers Stakes (G3) and will need to make a step forward to be in contention.
Irish War Cry will be trying to rebound and return to consideration as a Kentucky Derby threat after a lackluster performance in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).
Prior to that, the chestnut son of Curlin was undefeated from three starts and turned in an impressive performance to take the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park. He is trained by Graham Motion, who saddled Animal Kingdom to an upset victory in the Derby in 201l and will have Rajiv Maragh in the irons for the first time.
Chad Brown, always a major player in the graded stakes ranks, will be sending out the lightly raced Cloud Computing who could offer some value at 5-2 odds. The dark bay colt, purchased for $200,000 as a yearling, is one of the least experienced horses in the field with only two starts.
He broke his maiden in his debut and came back to finish second in his stakes debut in the Gotham Stakes (G3). He has been training sharply since that effort and will be getting a jockey change to Irad Ortiz, Jr.
An interesting longshot could potentially be True Timber, at 12-1 on the morning line. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the bay son of Mineshaft will carry the iconic silks of Calumet Farm and will be trying to prove he belongs on the Kentucky Derby trail. He has one win from five starts and will be trying to improve after finishing a fifth in the Gotham Stakes (G3).
Here is the field for the 2017 Wood Memorial along with morning line odds.
- Glennrichment, 15-1
- Mo Town, 6-1
- Battalion Runner, 2-1
- Bonus Points, 20-1
- True Timber, 12-1
- Stretch’s Stone, 15-1
- Cloud Computing, 5-2
- Irish War Cry, 7-2
- #7 8 Irish War Cry
- #7 Cloud Computing
- #3 Battalion Runner
- #5 True Timber
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