Description: The 1 1/8 miles $1 million Grade I Wood Memorial is Saturday April 6 2013 and carries valuable Kentucky Derby points. There are 100 points for the winner, 40 for 2nd, 20 for 3rd, and 10 for 4th. The heavy hitters are the undefeated colts Verrazano (3) and Vyjack (4). This writer would have to add Mr Palmer to that short list. The others, in my opinion, are running for second.
Verrazano (KY) B , C, foaled January 27, 2010 (More Than Ready - Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway) has been the talk of this year's Derby Hopeful's even before his first start....a 6 1/2 furlong MSW at GP January 1 2013. He won by 7 3/4 lengths. Next up a mile AOC at GP on February 2, he wins by 16 1/4 lengths. Then a test, of sorts, the 1 1/16 $350K Grade 2 Tampa Derby, he tracks the pacesetter Falling Sky then runs off and wins by 3. His has earned $261,300 for his owners are Let's Go Stable, Tabor, Michael B., Magnier, Mrs. John, and Smith, Derrick, he is trained by Todd Pletcher and his rider is John Velazquez. He has 50 Derby points.
Vyjack (KY) B , G, foaled February 11, 2010 (Into Mischief - Life Happened, by Stravinsky) is undefeated in 4 lifetime starts. After his MSW victory at 6 1 /2 furlongs at Aqueduct on November 10 2012 he won the minor stakes, the 7 furlong $75K Traskwood at Aqueduct by 5 3/4 lengths. He only had 3 rivals, however Derby Hopeful Always in a Tiz did run 2nd. Next up was the 1 mile 70 yds $200K Grade II Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct January 5 2013. Although this race carried no Kentucky Derby points it is an important prep race for the Spring Classics. He was tested in this race, he was on or near the pace, always pressured, he had enough to battle the length of the stretch to win by a head. In the 1 1/16 $400K Grade III Gotham at Aqueduct on March 2, he and his new jockey Joel Rosario changed tactics. They came flying late to hit the lead around the 1/16 pole and kicked clear by 2 /14 lengths over an accomplished field of 3 year olds. Vyjack has 50 Derby points and his non restricted earnings are $405,000 ($442,200 total). He was bred by Machmer Hall. Vyjack is owned by Pick Six Stables and is being trained by Rudy Rodriquez.
Mr Palmer (KY) B , C, foaled February 25, 2010 (Pulpit - In Truth, by Quiet American) has only recently been put on the Road to the Derby win his commanding win in the 1 1/8 $100K Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park on March 9 2013. He just broke his MSW in a 1 mile 70 yds race February 17 in his 6th lifetime start. He did improve in each start however, he was 6th in his 1st start, 5th in his 2nd, 4th in his 3rd, 3rd in his 4th, and 2nd in his 5th start. He has now reeled off two in a row and has shown he can at least get 1 1/8. He desperately needs to earn some Derby points to move forward. We give Mr Palmer a big chance to do so in the Wood. He has earned $119,331 for his owners/breeders Lauffer, Michael and Gregory McDonald (can anyone say 'Shackleford'?). Mr Palmer is trained by Hall of Fame trainer William Mott and was ridden by jockey Joel Rosario in his last start. Junior Alvarado will have the mount in the Wood as Joel is scheduled to ride Vyjack.
Drawing by Mel at Daily Racing Funnies.
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