Wood Memorial Stakes Picks: All About Risk Taking

Does Bill Mott have the ability to bring Candy Man Rocket back to win in the Wood Memorial, after a major failure down in Tampa? Find out who J.N. Campbell thinks is the winner...
Does Bill Mott have the ability to bring Candy Man Rocket back to win in the Wood Memorial, after a major failure down in Tampa? Find out who J.N. Campbell thinks is the winner...

The $750,000 Grade II Wood Memorial Stakes is the final leg of the Aqueduct Road to the Kentucky Derby. The winner and runner-up are both all but assured their place in the starting gate at Churchill Downs on May 1.

Our turf-man is here with his preview of the race, which you can find below along with our Race Card...

The feature on the Wood Memorial card is just that… the Wood Memorial Stakes, which is a Grade II affair going a 1 1/8th on the Main Track at Aqueduct. This race has produced some celebrated winners, but lately few have vied to win the Kentucky Derby. Still, you never know when a runner will get hot, and head into Churchill with a full head of steam.

Whereas in the filly version of this race, I spurned the idea of a “Single” with the Klaravich Stables entry.  Now, here I am selling this one! Risk Taking #4 has all the tools that are necessary to be an accomplished Derby participant. Chad Brown has himself a very talented colt out of Medaglia d’Oro. In the Withers (G3) back in early February, he made a statement rolling down the lane in fine fashion. It was an impressive victory. Then, the connections decided to wait for this race—Wood Memorial. Nowadays, Derby particpants barely run in 3 contests in the same year they hope to compete in the “Run for the Roses.” I think Brown has this one primed for another score against a field that is short on major experience. The only other runners that might be plausible are the Jerkens Barn’s Weyburn #8, and Brown’s other stable member in here, Crowded Trade #2. I thought the Gotham (G3), in which both these horses were 1-2, looked a little weak to my eye. Maybe that is why Weyburn #8 won at 47/1, besting Crowed Trade #2…

My sense is that Risk Taking is the major play, especially with Irad Ortiz jumping aboard. You might think that Danny Velazquez’s Brooklyn Strong #1, a gelding who has battled an injury, might be an option… Or Candy Man Rocket #7, who is classy, but failed miserably in the Tampa Bay Derby for Bill Mott... Or Brendan Walsh’s Prevalence #6, who is the young Gulfstream upstart… But, none of those are colts I would choose because they all have holes in their capability.

Risk Taking #4 is the name of the game… isn’t it?  

Wager Recommendation: $100 Win #4

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