Friday, April 3, 2009

The Wood Memorial (G1)

Wood Memorial
1-1/8th 3 Year Olds $750,000

Considering all the connections that had mentioned running in the 85th Wood Memorial (G1) the field came up as a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps the combined concerns for graded stakes money and running against I Want Revenge are too much of an impediment. That’s one of the problems with the system of having graded stakes earnings being the determinant to pass the entry box, but more about that another time.

The Wood Memorial (G1) is all about I Want Revenge. He is the legitimate 4-5 morning line favorite. It is his race to play with. He doesn’t have to win, he just needs a good effort to set him up well for the Kentucky Derby (G1). That consideration leaves some possibility for another colt to step up and get into the gate on May 2.

The most likely candidate is the McGaughey trained Imperial Council. Many of the “experts” have him on their top-ten lists even though he is lightly raced. His sire, Empire Maker, won this race in 2003 and as a result was installed as the favorite to take the roses. He is developing into a top sire and as a son of Unbridled is he has the pedigree to bestow the stamina necessary for the classic distances. However, the get of Empire Maker have, thus far, been notoriously slow developing. Better for the breed, perhaps, but to collect accolades in May? That’s yet to be determined. So questions remain for both of the ML favorites.

It is possible, likely in fact, that I Want Revenge will regress a bit from his career best Gotham performance. He is assured of being in the gate on May 2, so the incentive to push the colt to his limits is not present. Of course he probably won’t need that effort to beat this field. So the question is will his performance be good enough to win?

Imperial Council is likely to continue to improve. However, he did run a 98 Beyer in the Gotham as a distant runner-up to I Want Revenge . That’s already a big number and one wonders how much he can improve in 4 weeks. Also, as already noted, being a son of Empire Maker one would expect him to bloom more around the time of the Travers. So questions remain for him as well.

I don’t doubt that these two will hit the board. With the exception of West Side Bernie they are seemingly far superior to most of this field. However, as a handicapper one has to try to figure where there is value. And with these two there is none. If you can find a colt you like aside from them and West Side Bernie, the likely third betting choice, you may be able to cash a decent ticket.

I don’t like West Side Bernie here. He’s coming off a poor race in the Lane’s End (G2) just two weeks ago and is wheeled back here, in my estimation, to collect some graded stakes money. The caveat is that his best races have been on dirt. But I’ll pass. It’s too much too quickly.

My choice to hit the board is Lime Rickey. So far he has raced only on turf but being by Lemon Drop Kid out of a Deputy Minister mare he has every right to run as well or better on dirt than grass. He has fared well against the likes of Bittel Road and Pioneerof the Nile on turf and has displayed nice works on the main track at GP. There is a concern that he is a horse that has seconditis but I’m betting he just can’t finish up as well on grass as he will on dirt. Most of the field in the Wood likes to be close to the pace and that also sets up well for him as he likes to come from off the pace. I’ll just place one bet in this race, Lime Rickey across the board. The morning line is 20-1 and I’d be happy to get 8-1.
I was hopingto see Musket Man run in the Wood. I thought his Tampa Bay Derby (G3) was an exceptional race, and thought he would fit well at Aqueduct. I'm not sure that the Illionois Derby(G2) is a better choice for him. But back to the race at hand...
The Picks.
Win: Imperial Council -----He gets it done and get’s Shug a Derby berth.
Place: Lime Rickey----------Finally finds his surface and his seasoning pays off.
Show: I Want Revenge-----He does what he has to do.

1 comment:

Amateurcapper said...

What happened to IMPERIAL COUNCIL??? Nada when the racing began in earnest.

I WANT REVENGE...WOW!!! He was the only horse in the race, should have won by 8 or more without the trouble.

Back to turf for LIME RICKEY and you'll have a terrible looking line to boost his price next time out.

MUSKET MAN proved he's a very nice horse but what chance does a son of YONAGUSKA really have in the Derby???