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OZONE PARK, NY – Recent Withers Stakes (G3) winner Risk Taking drew post 4 and was named the 5/2 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $750,000 Wood Memorial Presented by Resorts World Casino (G2), and fellow Klaravich Stables-owned Search Results drew post 8 for the $250,000 Gazelle Stakes (G3), on the final day of graded stakes action for the Aqueduct meet.
The Wood Memorial is a 1 1/8-mile dirt route restricted to 3-year-olds that offers qualifying points along the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) prep series. The winner will receive 100 points, the runner-up 40, with 20 to third and 10 to fourth.
Joining the Wood Memorial on Saturday’s loaded card at The Big A is the Gazelle, a 1 1/8-mile dirt route for 3-year-old fillies that awards Kentucky Oaks (G1) points to the top four finishers on the same 100-40-20-10 basis.
Risk Taking Rallies to Take Withers
Part of an uncoupled pair of entries from the Chad Brown barn carrying the Klaravich Stables silks on race day, Risk Taking broke his maiden over this course and distance at third asking while wearing blinkers for the first time. He kept the hood for the Withers and pulled off a strong come-from-behind victory by 3 3/4 lengths as the 9/5 favorite, though the horses whom he beat haven’t returned strong.
Stablemate Crowded Trade is a nose away from being undefeated through 2 starts, having broken his maiden in a local 6-furlong sprint on debut before coming up a nostril shy of winning the Gotham Stakes (G3). With Brown’s first-call jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. opting to ride Risk Taking, Eric Cancel hops aboard Crowded Trade for the second straight time.
Weyburn Bombs Gotham
Weyburn returns for more following his 46/1 upset in the local Gotham, a one-turn mile that rewarded him enough points (50) to already qualify for the Derby. He’s won 2 straight, both over this course, and while this marks his first try going two turns, he’s bred to run all day and his connections just paid the $6k supplemental fee in order to officially nominate him to the Triple Crown trail.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, for years Brown’s chief rival, also entered two as he continues his barn’s last-second push to make the Derby gate (Known Agenda won last week’s Florida Derby [G1]). Bourbonic won 2 straight local one-turn mile sprints before running second to fellow entry Market Maven in a Parx optional claiming event, while Dynamic One broke his maiden here at this distance March 7.
Here is the full field for the Wood Memorial:
Search Results remains undefeated after breaking her maiden going 6 furlongs at Gulfstream Park on January 3 and winning the Busher Invitational Stakes in a local one-turn mile last time out. The daughter of Flatter reunites with Irad Ortiz Jr., aboard for her debut as 1 of his record-breaking 138 victories during the Florida track’s recently-concluded Championship Meet.
The Grass Is Blue brings plenty more experience than her stablemate in the Brown barn, having raced 6 times to date and winning 3. She won the Busanda Stakes over this course and distance in late January in her first start wearing blinkers before finishing third in the Busher, which was likely too short for her. Manny Franco rides for the third straight start.
Search Results Overpowers Miss Brazil In Busher
Alwayz Late heads north and switches surfaces after winning back-to-back routes on the Gulfstream Park lawn, a maiden-breaking effort on February 13 and an optional claimer on March 10. Though this marks her first try on dirt, she’s bred to handle it – sire Animal Kingdom won the 2011 Kentucky Derby – and top rider Tyler Gaffalione sees fit to hop aboard her for the first time.
Hybrid Eclipse also brings a 2-race win streak into this event, though hers came on dirt. She broke her maiden at fifth asking in a local 7-furlong sprint on January 23, then followed up with a 6-length routing score against Laurel Park optional claimers. The Linda Rice trainee steals jockey Jose Ortiz away from Alwayz Late, but she’ll need to prove here that she can win without receiving race-day Lasix.
Here is the full field for the Gazelle:
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