Kentucky Derby Prep Races: Wood Memorial Odds, Race Preview

Written By Dave Bontempo on April 7, 2022
Wood Memorial Odds

Two perspectives mark the three Wood Memorial favorites before Saturday’s $750,000 1 1 -8-mile showcase at Aqueduct Race Track. Morello, the 9-5 morning line choice, has 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points and is safely inside the top 20 total that will determine the field for the May 7 Run for the Roses. But for 5-2 shot Mo Donegal and 3-1 pick Early Voting, this is what win and you’re in looks like. Both sit outside of the top 20 and need to at least reach the top three in this race to reach the Derby.

This is the 97th running of the Wood Memorial, which bestows 100 points to the winner, 40 points for second and 20 for third. That’s the overview in this field of eight for this 4:45 p.m. showcase, available to nationwide betters on TVG.

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The Morning Line: Wood Memorial Odds

Check out Wood Memorial Morning Line odds below and click to bet with TVG.

HorseTrainerJockeyOdds
Mo DonegalTodd PletcherJoel Rosario5-2
Golden CodeTodd PletcherKendrick Carmouche15-1
Early VotingChad BrownJose Ortiz3-1
Long TermTodd PletcherJavier Castellano20-1
MorelloSteve AsmussenJose Lezcano9-5
SkippylongstockingSaffie Joseph Jr.Junior Alvarado12-1
A.P.'s SecretSaffie Joseph Jr.Manny Franco12-1
BareseMichael MakerDylan Davis8-1

Wood Memorial Field

1. Mo Donegal (5-2): May like this distance. Won the Remsen at 1 1-8 miles in a photo with Zandon after a thrilling stretch duel. Won in faster time than Early Voting won the Withers, but could not quite get there for second in the 1 1-6 Holy Bull as the 8-5 chalk. Has run well every time out. It would figure that he breaks alertly and runs late. The half was a pedestrian 51.47 at the Remsen and he wasn’t leading. He was at least three seconds slower than Early Voting’s half-mile time and yet faster at the end. That suggests he can run strongly late. Missed the Fountain of Youth with a low-grade fever. Comes off a two-month layoff, as does Early Voting. Live, fair odds.

2. Golden Code (15-1): Ran a determined third to Morello in the Gotham, finishing a handful of lengths behind. Could be a factor underneath, but would be hard-pressed to beat the frontrunners. Would need both Early Voting and Mo Donegal to have off days in order to be in the picture.

3. Early Voting (3-1): Won impressively at maidens’ special weight and then the Withers in two career starts. Frontrunning Withers triumph featured a 26-second third-quarter breather en route to the 1 1–8-mile triumph. Labored in the final eighth of a race he was stretching in, but hung on.
Respect increased after second-place Un Ojo shocked the racing world with a 75-1 triumph at the Rebel Stakes. Fourth-place Grantham later notched a second in the Tampa Bay Derby. And he received a Beyers adjusted speed rating. Those who believed he looked better than a 78 in the Withers were right. It’s been changed to an 87. Two-month layoff and has also been the distance.

4. Long Term (20-1): Second in maiden special weights company. Always runs hard but has been second in all four outings. Likes the track, but this step up into a $750,000 race figures to be too steep.

5. Morello (9-5): Love the progression. Six-furlong win. Seven-furlong win. And a one-mile victory last time out at the Gotham. Now he stretches another furlong. Tracked from second, pulled aside early speed and did what he had to in the Gotham. Now moves to two turns and faces a proven foe in Early Voting. Enters the race with the best Beyer speed figure in the field by far, 96.

6. Skippylongstocking (12-1): Leading Gulfstream Park trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. tries his hand in New York. Well behind Simplification in the Mucho Macho Man and trailed In Due Time in allowance race. When Simplification and In Due Time later ran 1-2 in the Fountain of Youth, his credentials improved. Especially after a subsequent allowance victory at this distance in 1:49.80. That’s faster than the favorites here, although at a different track. If Aqueduct is not 3-5 seconds slower than Gulfstream Park, he may have a chance to make some noise. Looks like he will come off the pace.

7. A.P.’s Secret (12-1): Ran much better in the Fountain of Youth than his seventh place indicates. He was an early pace presence and in position to strike but got the worst of a collision around the turn that took him out of the race. Figures to vie for at least for the bottom of the exotics. Could put some early heat on Early Voting.

8. Barese (8-1): Merits betting respect off a heart-pumping win at the Gander Stakes. Erased a five-length deficit in the homestretch to nip 4-5 chalk Bold Journey. Winning time of 1:39.26 even better than Morello’s 1:39.28 for the same 1-mile distance at the same track. Has the same task as Morello, stretching to two turns and 1 1-8 miles. Should be right there. A sweet price if it stays.

Betting Strategies

This one should be extremely competitive. First instinct is that Early Voting controls the pace and finishes in the top two with the best closer. I’ll take one exacta box shot with Early Voting and Morello, projecting that Morello can handle two turns because of the class that 96 Beyer suggests.
Because Mo Donegal already has been the distance, I will put him in a $1 trifecta box ticket for $6 (1-3-5).

But this is a wide-open race.

  • Morello has the big 96 Beyer, Mo Donegal always runs late and may be due, while Early Voting has success at the distance.
  • Somewhere in this group I’ll find a key to place over the others and add Barese, A.P.s Secret, Golden Code and Skippylongstocking underneath in a couple of stab tickets. But only a couple. If the top three run well, the exotics won’t pay a lot.
  • Much depends on whether A.P.’s Secret or someone unexpected pushes Early Voting in the early going. You can rally on this track.
  • Bourbonic came from the clouds to spring the biggest upset in Wood Memorial history at 72-1 last year.

Road To Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

The top-20 healthy horses in the standings after all KY Derby prep races have completed will be eligible to enter the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May.

RankHorsePointsTrainer
1Epicenter
164Steven M. Asmussen
2Zandon114Chad Brown
3White Abarrio
112Saffie Joseph, Jr.
4Mo Donegal112Todd Pletcher
5Tiz the Bomb110Kenny McPeek
6Cyberknife100Brad Cox
7Crown Pride (JPN)100Koichi Shintani
8Taiba100Tim Yakteen
9Simplification
74Antonio Sano
10Smile Happy
70Kenny McPeek
11Classic Causway66Brian Lynch
12Tawny Port60Brad Cox
13Barber Road
58John Ortiz
14Un Ojo
54Anthony W. Dutrow
15Messier40Tim Yakteen
16Zozos40Brad Cox
17Summer Is Tomorrow40Bhupat Seemar
18Charge It40Todd Pletcher
19Happy Jack30Doug O'Neill
20Pioneer of Medina25Todd Pletcher
21In Due Time24Kelly Breen
22Ethereal Road22D. Wayne Lukas
23Rich Strike21Eric Reed
24Rattle N Roll20Kenny McPeek

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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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