2023 Wood Memorial Stakes Odds & Betting Preview

There’s a place in the Kentucky Derby up for grabs in the G2 2023 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday, with Brad Cox – responsible for Hit Show and Slip Mahoney – and Todd Pletcher, whose trio comprises Dreamlike, Classic Catch and Crupi, bringing the numbers in a bid to expand their already enviable portfolio of Derby contenders.

KENTUCKY DERBY ODDS

Wood Memorial Stakes

G2, $750,000, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo, 6.16pm ET

Of the three 100pt Road to the Kentucky Derby preps on Saturday, the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct has the biggest field but is the lightest on quality, with only four horses quoted at single-figure odds on the morning-line. None of the baker’s dozen have enough points to be sure of a place in the gate at Churchill Downs, so there’s plenty at stake today.

Brad Cox hit the jackpot with Derby hopeful Angel Of Empire last weekend and will be hopeful of doing the same with Hit Show (5-2), who made a huge splash on his stakes debut when utterly dominant in the G3 Withers over course and distance in February.

He surged past Arctic Arrogance (6-1) at the three-sixteenths pole and barrelled away to win by five and a half lengths, with General Banker (20-1) another six and a quarter lengths back in third, and if he’s in the same sort of mood he’ll be very hard to beat despite being drawn in the car park.

Arctic Arrogance is not the strongest stayer and the mile-eighth is right at the end of his red zone, but he has never been out of the first two in six starts and may again go well, although the blinkers come off this time.

Cox has a viable second-string in Slip Mahoney (6-1), runner-up in the G3 Gotham Stakes here over a mile on his stakes debut. The Gotham was a chaotic race and the form may not stand up, and Slip Mahoney was beaten seven and a half lengths after coming from a very long way back, but he’ll move forward and should again account for third-placed General Banker, beaten another length and a half, and for fifth and sixth home Clear The Air (15-1) and Mr. Swagger (30-1).

It’s pretty rare for a horse to break its maiden in a G2 contest but that’s what Dreamlike (7-2) is trying to do for Todd Pletcher, who has won the Wood a joint-record seven times. Dreamlike has been runner-up twice at Gulfstream Park, most recently over a mile-sixteenth when beaten three-quarters of a length by a debutant, and the fact that he’s second-choice in the betting says a lot about the standard of this contest. He gets blinkers for the first time.

His barnmate Classic Catch (10-1) also makes his stakes debut today and has a victory over course and distance on his resume, back in November when he beat another barnmate, six-race maiden Crupi (12-1), by two and a half lengths.

The G2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream, won by Forte, was a very strong prep and Shadow Dragon (12-1) did okay when coming along late for fifth, beaten 14 and a quarter lengths. This is a whole lot easier, and his previous effort when runner-up in the G3 Holy Bull, with Lord Miles (30-1) beaten a long way into sixth, looks good in this company.

2023 Wood Memorial Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

It’s very hard to oppose HIT SHOW, who was so impressive when winning a G3 over course and distance on his stakes debut and is liable to find further improvement.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
DreamlikeJose L. Ortiz+300
Shadow DragonEric Cancel+1200
KnoxJose Antonio Gomez+5000
General BankerFrankie Pennington+2000
Slip MahoneyDylan Davis+575
Clear the AirHeman K. Harkie+1500
Arctic ArroganceJose Lezcano+575
Lord MilesPaco Lopez+3000
CrupiKendrick Carmouche+1200
Uncle JakeJevian Toledo+2000
Classic CatchTrevor McCarthy+1000
Mr. SwaggerCarlos Olivero+3000
Hit ShowManuel Franco+200

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