Todd Pletcher is one of the most talented and successful trainers of 2- and 3-year-old Thoroughbreds there is. Pletcher has won a lot of races, but two of the big ones that he’s never won are the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) and the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Pletcher hopes to add one of those races to his resume today when he sends Eskendereya, the 4-5 morning line favorite, to the starting gate of the $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct.
Eskendereya established himself as the top 3-year-old on the Kentucky Derby Trail with his dominating 8 ½ - length win in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and he is the deserving favorite for the Wood Memorial. Eskendereya already was my favorite, since early January, and I would like to see him win.
A win in the Wood will guarantee Eskendereya a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate and with some racing luck he will be wearing the Garland of Roses on the first Saturday in May.
Another horse I like is Awesome Act (9-2). He showed his talent for winning when he returned to racing, after a four-month layoff, and won the Gotham Stakes (G3). Awesome Act barely has enough graded earnings to get into the Kentucky Derby starting gate and a win today would secure him that spot.
Trainer Derek Ryan has been Kentucky Derby dreamin for some time now with his talented colt Schoolyard Dreams (5-1). Last year Ryan had Derby dreams on his mind when he sent the talented Musket Man to the Derby starting gate and he’s hoping to get Schoolyard Dreams there too.
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito already stamped his ticket to the Kentucky Derby when Ice Box won the Florida Derby and he would like to add Jackson Bend (4-1) to that starting lineup with a win in the Wood Memorial.
For me, today’s race will most likely be a spectator sport as the short field and low odds will make wagering an unprofitable affair.
But that’s okay.
I’ll still be rooting for Eskendereya.