Derby Hopefuls Eye Wood Win
Seeking a spot in this year’s Kentucky Derby, several out-ofstate runners are slated to run in this Saturday’s (Apr. 5) Grade 1, $1 million TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park.
Kristo-most recently third in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes, 13 1/2 lengths behind winner California Chrome, arrived at Aqueduct on Tuesday, Apr. 1, for the Wood Memorial, his first start outside California.
Trainer John Sadler said the bay son of Distorted Humor worked well at Santa Anita on Sunday, covering six furlongs in 1:12 2/5.
“In his last race, we changed his running style and took him back to a speed-favoring track and that probably was a mistake,” said Sadler of Kristo, who is 1-3-1 from five career starts. “He ran much better in the [Grade 3] Sham [Stakes] before that [second to Midnight Hawk] and we think he deserves one more chance.”
Kristo is looking to emulate the Wood success of California invaders such as I Want Revenge (2009), Bob and John (2006), Congaree (2001) and Fusaichi Pegasus (2000).
Accompanying Kristo on the flight will be Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes hopeful Kobe’s Back, who won the Grade 2 San Vincente by 5 1/4 lengths but then was seventh of eight after being rank early in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The California-based Sadler’s last graded stakes win in New York was the 1993 Bay Shore with Three Peat .
Meanwhile, unbeaten Social Inclusion arrived at Aqueduct Racetrack at approximately 3 a.m. on Monday, Mar. 31, after departing Gulfstream Park by van on Sunday, according to a Tweet made by owner Ronald Sanchez.
Social Inclusion, who is trained by Manuel Azpurua, settled in barn 4 at Aqueduct and is expected to gallop up to the Wood Memorial, which will be his first start away from Gulfstream and third overall. He won a six-furlong maiden race by 7 1/2 lengthsonFeb.22anda11/16-mile open allowance race by 10 lengths on Mar. 12.
First race post time for Saturday’s 12-race card will be 1 p.m., with the Wood scheduled as race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:40 p.m. The winner of the Wood Memorial will earn $600,000 plus 100 points in the Kentucky Derby Championship Series qualifying system.
The card includes the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and the Grade 1 Carter Handicap for older sprinters.