2014 Wood Memorial Picks and Analysis, Wicked Strong, Kristo, live longshots
by Kenneth Strong, Horse Racing Handicapper, Predictem.com
Wood Memorial-G1, Race 10, Aqueduct, Saturday, April 5, 2014
3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8-miles, Dirt, Purse: $1 Million
2014 Wood Memorial Picks
1. Wicked Strong
4. Social Inclusion
2014 Wood Memorial Analysis
Social Inclusion could go favored in this year’s Wood Memorial and it would be difficult to argue with those who like him based on pure talent. The 3-year-old Pioneer of the Nile colt is a perfect 2-for-2 and comes into the Wood Memorial off an impressive 10-length win over heavily favored former Remsen-G2 winner Honor Code going 1 1/16-miles at Gulfstream Park on March 12.
Social Inclusion was given a Beyer Speed Figure of 111 for that race, and while that number was likely inflated by the lone speed nature of the win, he did accomplish it rather easily. No one else in this year’s Wood Memorial field has even cracked the 100 mark on the Beyer Scale.Jockey Contreras says this is the horse he’s been waiting for all his life. We’ve heard that before.
This is a bigger field with a few fighters in it and it remains to be seen what Social Inclusion will do if he can’t get the lead, as he did in both his victories. What will he do if he has to fight? Not knowing the answer to that question makes a short price unattractive, so we’ll be looking elsewhere for longshots.
We’re especially intrigued by the fact that Kristo has shipped in from California for the Wood Memorial off his 13 1/2-length drubbing by California Chrome in the San Felipe-G2 on March 8. We thought he was the speed of that race, and he probably was, but they attempted to rate him and that turned out to be a disaster. Kristo can be quick if he wants to and we’re thinking he could be the horse to control the pace in this year’s Wood Memorial. Could he wire the field? Not likely, but we’re hoping.
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Kristo is unlikely to be left alone too long on the lead, as others in here will think he can steal the race. Jerome-G2 winner Noble Moon should sit close, Gotham-G3 and Withers Stakes-G3 tough guy winner Samraat can do the same, as can Gotham runner up Uncle Sigh.Social Inclusion completes the four-pack that could be battling on the turn for home and into the stretch.
Social Inclusion could run away from the field if he’ll come from off the pace, but the scenario we’re hoping for is a battle on the turn that sets the race up for our longshot, Wicked Strong.
Wicked Strong makes his third start off a long layoff for sharp trainer Jimmy Jerkens, and we’re betting he was being pointed for this race all along. In his final start last year he finished third beaten only a 1/2-length in the Remsen-G2, at this track, going the Wood Memorial distance of 1 1 1/8-miles. In his first start back this hear he galloped around and finished nowhere in the Holy Bull Stakes-G2 at Gulfstream Park, but he looked like he was starting to wake up in his most recent start, finishing fourth beaten 6 1/2-lengths by subsequent Florida Derby-G1 winner Constitution going 1 1/16-miles at Gulfstream Park. He was still running at the end of that race and at 15-1 on the morning line he becomes very enticing.
Knowing full well that Social Inclusion just might be too good for these, we’re going to swing for the fences with longshots in this year’s Wood Memorial Superfecta, Trifecta and Exacta. We’ll take Wicked Strong and Kristo to the board in all three places in the Trifecta, combine them with a number of others in the Exactas and Superfectas, and bet them both to win.
Because we want to eat steak!