Wood Memorial Odds: Can Hit Show Overcome Poor Post?

Written By Dave Bontempo on April 7, 2023
wood memorial odds

Hit Show has already taken a hit before his encore presentation in the $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on Saturday. The Withers winner and Wood contender drew the difficult extreme outside 13 post in the two-turn, 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Derby prep. As a result, he was installed Thursday as the tepid 5-2 morning-line favorite, although Wood Memorial odds are not official until post time, per parimutuel regulations.

We’ll take a look at Wood Memorial odds in our latest road to the Kentucky Derby preview.

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2023 Wood Memorial Odds

While he is expected to run well along with stablemate Slip Mahoney in Race No. 5, Hit Show must avoid finishing off the board. He has 20 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby and needs at least a top-four finish in the race that awards 100-40-30-20-10 for places one through five in order for his connections to feel safe about a Derby invitation.

Slip Mahoney also has 20 points and thus the stakes are high for the two most highly-touted horses in the Wood, which has a 6:16 p.m. ET post.

Bettors can access the action, and a solid afternoon of stakes races, at FanDuel TV.

Here is a look at the post positions and morning-line odds (as of Thursday).

1Dreamlike7-2Todd PletcherJose Ortiz
2Shadow Dragon12-1William MottEric Cancel
3Knox50-1Saffie Joseph, Jr.Jose Gomez
4General Banker20-1James FerraroFrankie Pennington
5Slip Mahoney6-1Brad CoxDylan Davis
6Clear The AirSCRWilliam WaldenHeman Harkie
7Arctic Arrogance6-1Linda RiceJose Lezcano
8Lord Miles30-1Saffie Joseph, Jr.Paco Lopez
9Crupi12-1Todd PletcherKendrick Carmouche
10Uncle Jake20-1Brittany RussellJevian Toledo
11Classic Catch10-1Todd PletcherTrevor McCarthy
12Mr. Swagger30-1Juan AvilaCarlos Olivero
13Hit Show5-2Brad CoxManny Franco

Let’s dive into the field, horse by horse.

1. Dreamlike (7-2)

  • A dream leap by the connections. Another Gulfstream shipper, coming from maiden company, where he was second. Generating a lot of respect on the morning line and the Pletcher-Ortiz combo comes up from Florida. Still has to prove it in New York.
  • Will add blinkers and may use the rail to get early position.

2. Shadow Dragon (12-1)

  • Surged to finish a strong second in the Holy Bull, but could get no better than fifth against the likes of Forte and Rocket Can in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.
  • Faces lesser, but also ships. Would need the race to fall apart in order to hit the board.

3. Knox (50-1)

  • Not able to win at allowance optional claiming at Gulfstream Park.
  • Ambitiously placed.

4. General Banker (20-1)

  • Had second in his pocket in the Gotham until Slip Mahoney gave him the slip and nipped him just before the wire.
  • Nonetheless, a strong performance. Now we will see if going back to two turns, where he ran third in the Withers, will help. Likes to run third and is a good consideration underneath.

5. Slip Mahoney (6-1)

  • Brilliant rally in the 1-mile Gotham can’t be ignored. Strategically and deliberately held back to last for the first half mile and made a furious bid, finishing second to victorious longshot Raise Cain.
  • Was able to rally into blistering fractions of 22.52 for the quarter-mile and 45.53 for the half-mile, but had the additional handicap of being forced far outside from a horse that had unseated his rider.
  • Coming for home, it appeared he would not even reach the top five, but he finished a good second.
  • Note that the track was heavy that day and most of the early speed was stopping.
  • It will be interesting to see what happens Saturday.
  • May not get that desirable duel up front, but has an enviable post position and one of the best in Dylan Davis aboard him.

6. Clear The Air (SCRATCHED)

  • Was a so-so fifth in the Gotham.  Doesn’t figure to improve enough, even on a fast track that gives him a fresh start, to beat these.

7. Arctic Arrogance (6-1)

  • Much to like in his Withers performance with a game second. His front-running style could be enough to keep him in the tickets if he can go relatively undisturbed.
  • Good enough to hit the board, even if compromised by an early duel. Could be in a good early spot as this field does not look loaded with early speed.

8. Lord Miles (30-1)

  • Ships from Gulfstream, where he ran his first three races. Third in the Mucho Macho Man, beaten by just three quarters of a length.
  • Closes and may not have a lot of speed to run into.

9. Crupi (12-1)

  • Has run just behind some good horses in maiden company. Was second to Slip Mahoney and Classic Catch. Was moved up to Risen Star and flopped at seventh.
  • Back against foes who have beaten him and are improving. Has yet to establish himself at a top level.

10. Uncle Jake (20-1)

  • Nice improvement angle. Beaten handily in 6-furlong debut by Geaux Rocket Ride, who runs in the Santa Anita Derby Saturday off a second-place finish in the San Felipe.
  • Uncle Jake came back and won at maiden special weights at Laurel and has been working well since.
  • Could be rounding into an upgraded form. Whether that’s enough to make this jump remains to be seen, but trainers always love this pattern.

11. Classic Catch (10-1)

  • Have to love victories at both this track and Gulfstream Park at 1 1/8 miles. Has been on an uptick with superior connections. Had similar fractions in Gulfstream allowance as Hit Show did in the Withers.
  • Lurking in the exotics pool and has a chance to surprise.

12. Mr. Swagger (30-1)

  • Basically got a mulligan with the Gotham Stakes. Finished a nondescript sixth, but on a muddy track. Reasonable improvement over a victorious maiden debut.
  • Wouldn’t figure he’s ready to beat these, but hitting the middle of the pack in a 14-horse Gotham field was enough for connections to throw him in here.

13. Hit Show (5-2)

  • And the hits kept on coming in the $400,000 Withers. Manny Franco adroitly guided the 6-5 favorite into a rail stalking position. After waiting for Arctic Arrogance to tangle in a speed duel, he turned for home and gobbled up the win convincingly.
  • Fractions of 23.3 and 48 seconds for the 1 1/8-mile run proved too taxing on the early speed.
  • Have to figure he will run well again at a distance he just won.
  • Franco will have to make an early decision on whether he wants to use him at least to obtain mid-pack position. That’s one of the big factors in this race.

Track Conditions

After moderate rain on Thursday, Aqueduct is scheduled for sunshine Friday and Saturday. Weather is quite significant here. On March 4, the day of the Gotham Stakes, the track was muddy and sealed. Closers had a field day all afternoon.

A fast track will be more friendly to frontrunners. Bettors will want to be on this by watching earlier races.

Pace Considerations

On a fast track, Arctic Arrogance should vie for the lead with perhaps Classic Catch and Uncle Jake. Blinkers on Dreamlike could signify an early good spot for him.

Dylan Davis will probably get Slip Mahoney closer to the pace this time. Hit Show is the best in this race but outside post is a wild card.

One might project Slip Mahoney rallying from a few lengths back as Mo Donegal did in taking the 2022 Wood on a fast track.

Betting Considerations And Projected Picks For Wood Memorial Odds

Big field will cause some traffic problems, thus I will figure Slip Mahoney and Hit Show in the top three and will keep Arctic Arrogance in the trifecta ticket in deference to projected early placement.

I will start with a 50-cent trifecta box of 13-5-11-7. Will put small win bet on Slip Mahoney and use him in keys. Will throw Uncle Jake (10) and General Banker (4) under.

Must take one exacta box 5-13 as it is possible and could pay well.

May be lured into one cover ticket with Dreamlike underneath, but otherwise I’m playing the angle that the New York horses will hold their own. Wherever that angle takes me, so be it.

Based on prices, I may have to be more precise than this, which will be race-day decision.

Good luck hitting your picks on Wood Memorial odds!

Remainder of Road To The Kentucky Derby Schedule

The Road to the Kentucky Derby schedule began in September. However, the win-and-in races began Feb. 18 with the Risen Star at Fair Grounds. That was the first race that awards 50 points to the winner. Below is the race schedule for the remaining 50 and 100-point prep races, enough for the race winners to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, if entered.

RaceTrackDatePoints For Top Finishers
Wood MemorialAqueductApr 8, 2023100-40-30-20-10
Blue GrassKeenelandApr 8, 2023100-40-30-20-10
Santa Anita DerbySanta Anita ParkApr 8, 2023100-40-30-20-10

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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

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