Tale of Ekati determined in Wood Memorial win, War Pass redeems himself with gutsy try
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com
April 5, 2008 Tale of Ekati capped off a long determined drive to catch a gutsy War Pass late in the 84th running of the $750,000 Wood Memorial-G1 at Aqueduct on Saturday, and Court Vision stamped himself as a legitimate longshot for the Kentucky Derby.
Tale of Ekati received a great trip courtesy of jockey Edgar Prado, but you certainly couldnt take anything away from his win based on his performance in the stretch drive. Stalking outside and back of quick early fractions of 22.46, 46.07 set by pressured even-money favorite War Pass; Tale of Ekati drew to within 3 -lengths of that one after six furlongs in 1:11.50 and attacked inside into the stretch after a mile in 1:38.42.
Unlike his Tampa Bay Derby debacle however, War Pass showed no quit when challenged this time, digging in with everything he had for the drive. But Tale of Ekati just kept coming, and coming and coming. Both horse and rider could see War Pass beginning to waver in deep stretch and when Prado turned up the enthusiasm a notch Tale of Ekati responded in kind to get by last years 2-year-old champion late. At the wire Tale of Ekati had a half length on War Pass. The final time for the 1 1/8 miles over a fast strip was 1:52.35, which equates to a 93 Beyer Speed Figure. More importantly, both horses got a good hard prep for the May 3 Kentucky Derby.
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Tale of Ekati was making only his second start as a 3-year-old off a 5-month layoff after finishing sixth behind Pyro in the Louisiana Derby-G2 on Mar. 8, but it was his will to win that really stood out in the Wood. Also of note was the performance of Court Vision, who came with a good late run to finish third beaten only 1 -length by War Pass. Trained by Bill Mott, Court Vision was also making only his second start off a layoff after finishing third in the Fountain of Youth-G2 on Feb. 24 behind Cool Coal Man. Court Vision should benefit quite a bit from his Wood Memorial effort and could be the longshot rallier youre looking for on your Kentucky Derby superfecta tickets.
War Pass redeemed himself with a much improved race in the Wood after finishing last in the Tampa Bay Derby-G3 on Mar. 15. He moved quickly to the early lead under outside pressure from Court Visions stablemate and rabbit Inner Light, opened up on that one after a half, and gave everything he had through the stretch. Still, it appears he might have distance limitations, and with other legitimate speed likely for the Derby his chances in the big race will be severely compromised. There is a chance that War Pass got nothing out of his two races prior to the Wood Memorial, which could point to another improved performance on Derby day but that probably wont be good enough. Fourth place finisher Giant Moon ran a decent race to finish a neck behind Court Vision, but will likely point for the Preakness rather than the Derby.
A 3-year-old colt by Tale of the Cat-Silence Beauty by Sunday Silence, Tale of Ekati increased his lifetime earnings to $769,200 from a record of 3-1-0 in five starts. Trained by Barclay Tagg for Charles Fipke, he was winning the second stakes of his career in the Wood, having previously won the Belmont Futurity-G2. He returned a great overlay price of $19 to his backers in the Wood, and will likely pay even better if he wins the Kentucky Derby.
Another one to add to your Derby longshot list.
Wood Memorial Results and Payoffs
April 5, 2008 - 9th Race Aqueduct
8 Tale of Ekati $19.00 $6.30 $3.60
5 War Pass $3.70 $2.60
1 Court Vision $2.40
$2 Exacta 8-5 paid $52.50
$2 Trifecta 8-5-1 paid $141.00