Jockey Eddie Castro rides Toby’s Corner, right, to victory in the Wood Memorial horse race ahead of Ramon Dominguez, left, on Arthur’s Tale and John Velazquez on Uncle Mo (5) at Aqueduct Racetrack Saturday, April 9, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
- Saturday’s Wood Memorial Stakes in New York’s last major Kentucky Derby prep race
- Early Voting, Morello, and Mo Donegal will all be aggressively bet on
- Who provides the most wagering value Saturday down the road from Laguardia airport?
Eleven times the winner of New York’s Wood Memorial Stakes has gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. However, it hasn’t happened since Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. This year’s mile-and-an-eighth test at Aqueduct Racetrack features several legitimate Run for the Roses contenders.
If you look at the latest Kentucky Derby odds, Early Voting is among the favorites, while Morello is being taken seriously, and Mo Donegal is considered a long shot. Whoever wins the Wood in New York will see their odds drop
Let’s look closely at the field of eight and consider who offers the best betting value.
2022 Wood Memorial Stakes Odds
Odds as of April 7
The most famous Wood Memorial took place in 1973. Secretariat’s final tune-up for the Triple Crown did not go well. Obviously, he rebounded, winning the Triple Crown and establishing himself as one of the greatest racehorses of all time.
Run since 1935, the Big A hosts the Wood Memorial, and weather conditions can be variable. This year things look pretty good. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-’50s with dry conditions. Post time is slated for 4:45 pm ET. NBC will televise the race.
The winner of the Wood will earn 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. The runner-up is allocated 40 points, with the third-place finisher awarded 20 points. Whoever finishes fourth gets 10 points. Morello probably has earned enough points to qualify for the Run for the Roses, but everyone else in the field likely needs a first or second-place finish to be guaranteed a spot at Churchill Downs.
With the Run for the Roses approaching, it is good to brush up on how to bet on the Kentucky Derby. This Saturday, who can a wager be made on where value is present?
The Favorites are Reasonable
Morello is unbeaten in three starts, Early Voting is perfect through two career races, and while Mo Donegal has two victories in four starts, he has faced the toughest competition.
Morello is coming off of an impressive victory in last month’s Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.
Morello will be racing around two turns for the first time on Saturday. So far each of his races has improved upon the previous one.
Early Voting for the incredibly successful team of trainer Chad Brown and owner Klaravich Stables dominated in the mud at the Big A last time out.
So was Early Voting slowing down at the end of the Withers Stakes? Was it the mud? Or the lack of competition near him? The son of Gun Runner will likely try to win wire-to-wire.
Mo Donegal won his final two races last year before shipping to Florida for February’s Holy Bull Stakes.
While he finished third in the Holy Bull, the winner White Abarrio won last week’s Florida Derby. Mo Donegal was rolling down the stretch, should like the extra eighth of a mile, and is the most established of this group.
What About a Price on Barese?
This is a good betting race because three favorites ensure no super chalky short price. If you like anyone else, the odds will be square.
Barese is taking a serious step up in competition. The New Yorker is three-for-three but has never faced horses bred outside the Empire State.
This will be Barese’s first try going two turns. Trainer Mike Maker is capable, but there are a lot of unknowns both in quality and distance with Barese.
While most of the attention for trainer Todd Pletcher is on Mo Donegal, he also sends out Golden Code and Long Term. Golden Code ran pretty well finishing third behind Morello last time out. Long Term has finished second in all four career races. It is notable Pletcher is trying a maiden against this caliber of competition. The son of Curlin is owned and bred by the powerful Repole Stable.
Wood Memorial Stakes Best Bet
For much of the winter, it has felt like the best horses in this year’s Derby crop were running in Florida. Mo Donegal was strong against New York competition late last year, and his one race this year was credible against the best of the best in the Sunshine State. He’ll be running late and with a quick run to the first turn, he should have an excellent position saving ground breaking from post number one.
Pick: Mo Donegal (+250)
Dave Friedman has covered professional and college sports for two decades. From ESPN to the Associated Press, Regional Sports Networks, Metro Networks, and many local outlets, he has written about and broadcast major and minor events throughout the country.