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Wood Memorial Picks – Eskendereya The Highlight At Wood Memorial

Posted by Alex Hankewicz on 4/27/2010 10:12:11 AM
Horse odds – Eskendereya

The Wood Memorial as a Grade 1 event and major prep race towards Kentucky Derby day features the highly regarded Eskendereya, the winner of the Grade II Fountain of Youth on Feb 20th.

Horse Betting Odds: Eskendereya
  • What: Horse Betting
  • When: Saturday, April 3
  • Where: Aqueduct Race Course New York City NY 86th edition of Wood Memorial Grade 1 $750,000 guaranteed 1 1/8 mile 3year olds
  • Who: Awesome Act, Carnivore ,Eskendereya, Jackson Bend,Most Happy Fella, Schoolyard Dreams

The Storyline

Grade 3 Gotham stakes Eskendereya’s main rival in this race figures to be British import Awesome Act and winner of last months. Eskendereya trainer Todd Pletcher agonized on whether to pass on the Grade I Florida Derby to enter his charge in the Wood Memorial, citing what would have amounted to a six week layoff prior to the Kentucky Derby.” It was a difficult decision,” Pletcher said. “On one hand, we had a horse that was two for two at Gulfstream and was coming off a big race and part of you wants to run back on the same surface you’ve been running on. The flip side of that is that anytime you’re coming off a lifetime top effort like he was, perhaps additional time is going to beneficial. There are pros and cons either way we did it, and the way I look at it, there may or may not be a right decision. Hopefully, there’s not a wrong one, either”

Wood Memorial Picks – The Favorite

Eskendereya has been installed as the early morning line favorite at 4-5 odds coming off an impressive romp over Jackson Bend winning by 8 1/2 lengths in the Fountain of Youth. Eskendereya is two for two in the 2010 campaign.


Wood Memorial Picks – The Second Tier

Sizing up the legitimate contenders in this six horse field we have to look closer at both British import Awesome Act and Fountain of Youth runner up Jackson Bend as being the key threats. Awesome Act made a successful transition from turf to dirt in the Gotham by coming from off the pace to score a 1 ¼ length victory on March 6th. Trainer Jeffrey Noseda is cautiously optimistic about his horse’s chances in the Wood Memorial “It’s put him in the firing line, but we need a good performance on Saturday to keep moving forward and to believe that we are realistic about our dream of being in Kentucky.” The Fountain of Youth runner up Jackson Bend will take another shot at Eskendereya this time Calvin Borel will be in the irons for trainer Nick Zito.


Wood Memorial Picks – The Long shots

The name Schoolyard Dreams may be familiar to punters which play Tampa Bay Downs simulcast action as Schoolyard Dreams was beaten by a nose by Odysseus in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby and decided to opt out of the Illinois Derby to enter in the Wood Memorial. One of the major reasons for the change, according to trainer Derek Ryan, was the availability of Ramon Dominguez to ride the horse. Dominguez was expected to ride Super Saver in the Wood and had commitments for the other three Saturday stakes at Aqueduct, including the Ryan-trained Musket Man in the Grade 1 Carter. “We've been trying to get him on the horse since December," said Ryan, who has used different jockeys in all five of Schoolyard Dreams’ starts, including Jeremy Rose last out. "It's not a knock on Jeremy; Dominguez has been the leading rider in the country for the last five years, and we had a chance to get him." Schoolyard Dreams can score the shocker if the front runners get locked in a speed duel and he can stalk the leaders and make a late challenge.


Wood Memorial Prediction & Outlook

How many times have we seen horses with impressive pedigrees fail to make a statement in a big race? The Wood has always been seen as the key tests en route to Churchill Downs. In this race eleven winners have gone on to capture the Run for the Roses. This years event should live up to the distinguished history and features a highly regarded horse with both pedigree, conditioning and form on side. Eskendereya’s trainer Todd Pletcher chose to be in this race to make a statement on the road to a potential Triple Crown quest.

Pick: Eskendereya

For more on horse racing or the 2010 Kentucky Derby odds, check out the Betting Edge daily

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