Spot Plays for Wood Memorial Day at Aqueduct

Profile Picture: Scott Shapiro

April 6th, 2018

The Wood Memorial is the headliner on Saturday’s card at , but there are a number of races leading up to the Grade 2 event that offer strong opportunities to build your bankroll before the big one.

Here are a few horses I will be building my afternoon around in the “Big Apple.”

Race 2

#2 Prompt has not done much running in his first two starts for Hall of Famer Bill Mott, but I do not think we have seen anything near this colt’s best yet. The son of Blame took a significant amount of money in his debut last December, especially for a barn that rarely has their runners cranked on first asking, but disappointed his backers. He never threatened in that race and came back to run a less than impressive fourth on February 18th.

Prompt may get overlooked in this maiden special weight event on the lawn coming off of two off the board finishes to start his career, but I expect him to appreciate getting off the less than ideal turf course at Gulfstream Park. Mott brings him into his third start off a steady series of drills at Payson Park and legs up Junior Alvarado. I am expecting a big effort at 6 to 1 on the line.

Race 6: The Gazelle, Grade 2

#3 Midnight Disguise is the horse to beat in the 123rd running of the $300,000 Gazelle, but I am going to gamble on a horse that provides much more value.

#6 My Miss Lilly was an impressive debut winner in the slop for trainer Mark Hennig before consecutive third place finishes against stakes company. Last time out in the $200,000 Busher the daughter of Tapit appeared loaded in the lane, but encountered traffic trouble costing her all chance.

The $670,000 Keeneland September 2016 purchase will need to move forward in the stretch out to a mile and an eighth, but I like her chances of taking to the increase in distance. At anything near her 5 to 1 morning line price I will bet her to win and play her in exotics with the favorite and the undefeated Pennsylvania bred #4 Smokinpaddylassie.

Race 8: The Carter Handicap, Grade 1

The Grade 1 field is led by undefeated Todd Pletcher trainee #2 Army Mule, but I am going to try to beat the 5-2-morning line favorite with #4 Do Share. The son of Candy Ride made his first start off the bench in the Grade 3 Tom Fool and ran a strong second to #9 Skyler’s Scramjet who had a fitness edge and pace advantage in that six furlong dash.

They stretch out to seven panels in the Carter and I expect to move forward after shaking off the rust on March 10th.  If Junior Alvarado can find a comfortable mid-pack spot during the early stages he should be able to get him to the wire for trainer Linda Rice. 5-1 on the line seems fair.

Good luck on the big day in New York!