New York's 100 point Derby Prep is the Wood Memorial, a race that has lost some esteem over the years. This year the race is loaded with speed so going to favor horses coming from off the pace.
1. Brooklyn Strong - Hasn't raced since December for trainer who is just 8% with 90+ day away lay-offs. On positive side, trainer is 24% with last race winners and work-outs looks good for return. Horse started in NY bred racing after being bought for only $5K but handled step up to open company in Remsen on sloppy track. Figures to improve off 2yo form with an ENERGY figure that is competitive, tactical speed running style while saving ground on the rail. Contender at a price.
2. Crowded Trade - May have needed race in Gotham when hanging late after looking like sure winner. Should step up in 3rd lifetime start with improved effort and has desirable running style with tactical speed. The Gotham race time around one-turn looks slow on paper and perhaps his tiring late is a sign of pedigree limitations. Brown is 48% winners in a horse's 2nd route race but he hasn't given this one any 5F works. Still a contender.
3. Bourbonic - This horse with great pedigree is heavily raced but too slow to make an impact. Drops LASIX. Toss.
4. Risk Taking - Skipped Gotham to be fresh for Wood. Has some modest 5F works for the comeback. Looks slower than Crowded Trade (see ENERGY) but gets the better jockey & pedigree for Brown. Was impressed by his victory in Withers but field was weak. Morning line fave is vulnerable.
5. Dynamic One - Another that is too slow to make an impact. Took 4 starts for this $725K purchase to break maiden. Connections are Pletcher/J Ortiz which is positive. Still a toss for me.
6. Prevalence - Godolphin horse getting a lot of buzz off two easy wins against much weaker. Was 1-10 in fast one turn mile at Gulfstream with LASIX on. Ships to NY for softer Triple Crown prep but will face pace pressure from the #8 and #9. Trainer 9% with Graded Stakes but work-outs are sharp. Could hold for a piece but should tire late.
7. Candy Man Rocket - Quit badly in Tampa Bay Derby as the post time favorite with no excuse. Can't play a horse like that in here and figures to be close to the hot early pace. Toss.
8. Weyburn - Very game win fighting back on the inside to take Gotham. Figures to improve off that effort. Laid 2nd stalking the pace and figures to be in similar position today with Prevalence. Which one of those do you like better? This one is proven over AQU surface and in stakes company but the Gotham was a slow race.
9. Market Maven - Penn bred gelding doesn't have the pedigree to go 9F but does have plenty of early speed. Could take the lead or just push a hot pace early. I think jockey will be told to be very aggressive which could doom #6/#8.
Bottom Line - Market Maven is the wild card horse with no shot but will force a hot pace. That sets it up for Brooklyn Strong, Crowded Trade or Risk Taking. Risk Taking looks like the better Brown option and needs points to qualify for the Derby while Crowded Trade will get in with a 4th or better and was slightly exposed in the Gotham Stakes stretch run. They are both owned by Klaravich. Brooklyn Strong may need a race but he should get a perfect trip at a good price. Key this one in any vertical exotics and my upset pick to win.