Ozone Park, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Gotham Stakes winner El Kabeir heads a
field of seven 3-year-olds in Saturday’s 90th running of the $1 million Wood
Memorial at Aqueduct.
The 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial is part of the Kentucky Derby points system that
determines the 20-horse field for the Run for the Roses on May 2. The winning
3-year-old receives 100 points.
Trained by John Terranova, El Kabeir will start from post 5 with C. C. Lopez
again in the saddle. The gray colt comes into Saturday with earnings of
$678,892 and wins in half of his eight starts.
El Kabeir, owned by Zayat Stables, won the Gotham on March 7 by 2 3/4 lengths
as the 13-10 favorite.
“I was very impressed, visually,” said Terranova. “The way the race unfolded,
he showed a whole new dimension. A lot was thrown at him … and he made two
big moves; it was very impressive. We’re real proud of him.”
The Gotham victory came four weeks after after losing the Withers at Aqueduct
to Far From Over as the 1-2 favorite. Far From Over, however, has a broken leg
bone and is off the Kentucky Derby trail. El Kabeir began the year by winning
the Jerome at Aqueduct on Jan. 3 as the 7-5 top pick.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will saddle Frosted for the Wood with Joel Rosario
riding from post 4. The gray colt is owned by Godolphin Racing.
Frosted has just one win in six career starts but has finished second four
times, including runner-up performances in the Remsen Stakes last November and
January’s Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park. The colt was fourth in Gulfstream’s
Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 21.
“We feel like we’ve accounted for every issue, and he has no excuse not to run
his best race,” said McLaughlin. “We know he has talent; he has to show it on
Saturday. The track was very tiring for the Fountain of Youth.”
Daredevil comes out of the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher for the Wood. Owned
by WinStar Farm, Daredevil will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post 6.
The chestnut colt was second in the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park last time
out on March 7. He posted wins in his first two career starts, including last
October’s Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. Daredevil finished 11th in last
year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He has earnings of $384,600.
“He’s very similar to what I saw last year,” said Byron Hughes, assistant to
Pletcher. “Whenever I watch him, I think he can do just about anything.”
Here is the field for the Wood Memorial in post position order: Tiz Shea D,
Manny Franco; Toasting Master, Angel Arroyo; Lieutenant Colonel, Irad Ortiz
Jr.; Frosted, Joel Rosario; El Kabeir, C. C. Lopez; Daredevil, Javier
Castellano and Tencendur, Jose Ortiz.
NBC Sports Network will provide live coverage of the Wood Memorial from 5-7
p.m. ET as part of NBC Triple Crown Prep Day, which includes the Blue Grass
Stakes and Santa Anita Derby. Post time for the Wood is approximately 5:30