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Lord Miles gets a hug from his groom after winning the Wood Memorial.
The major New York prep race for the Triple Crown is the $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) presented by Resorts World Casino, contested at 1 1/8 miles, one complete circuit of the Aqueduct main track, worth 100 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. Conditions were typical for early April at the Long Island oval near Kennedy Airport, with cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 40's, the main track rated fast and both turf courses firm. After Clear the Air scratched, Hit Show was sent off as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 12 off his win in the Withers Stakes (G3). In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Dreamlike, second in two starts and making his stakes debut here, and 9-2 third choice Slip Mahoney, second in the Gotham Stakes (G3).
Down the stretch in the Wood Memorial
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 8 Lord Miles Lopez 120.50 25.60 13.20 13 Hit Show Franco 3.50 2.70 1 Dreamlike Ortiz 4.60 Winning Time: 1:51.17 $1 Exacta 8-13 134.50 $1 Trifecta 8-13-1 851.50 $1 Superfecta 8-13-1-7 2,918.50
Left: Lord Miles in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said, "God is good. From the top of the stretch when I realized he had a chance to get a piece of it, I was just thankful. At the eighth pole, I was thinking go get second and then - wait a minute - and there it was. He was a horse we thought a lot of and he showed up today when it counted most. He got in such a good position and was more in the bridle. Paco [Lopez] gave him a great ride. Today was a big move forward because of the Tampa Bay Derby [5th]. In the Tampa Bay Derby, Paco taught him to keep running. He tried on him and he kept running and got fifth. I was very proud of him that day."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Wood Memorial. Winning jockey Paco Lopez said, "[Dreamlike] came out and [Manny] Franco [aboard Hit Show] was looking for room and so he bumped into my horse. My horse stayed in line all the time and stayed fighting for the line. It was a tight race."
Left: Lord Miles walks over before the race. Joseph added, "After his first start, I was dreaming Derby. The Mucho Macho Man [3rd] was good, but from there everything was derailed. The Holy Bull went wrong, the Tampa Bay Derby was a step in the right direction, but we were probably running out of time. Today, here we are, one more time and it worked out. (Owner) Peter Vegso has been a big supporter of us and to run a horse at 59-1, he didn't get scared away. He gave us a chance to do it. When you take chances, this is where you are.I learned in life to never stop taking chances. If the horse is doing good, take a chance, because each chance you don't take is a chance you miss."
Right: Lord Miles returns after the race. Lopez added, "He ran a very good race. I know at Tampa he didn't give me a very good race the first time I rode him. This time, I knew I had a chance. I didn't have too much time to jog and gallop him. This time I had plenty of time and that helped me a lot today and it worked out very well today."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Hit Show returns after the race. Jockey Manny Franco said, "I was right in between [Dreamlike and Lord Miles] like a ping pong ball. They hit me on both sides. I don't know. He was there for me and right between horses. Those bumps, I don't know. I don't think he was comfortable with that. He gave me a beautiful run today. Yes. Definitely (the contact cost him the win)."
Right: Third place finisher Dreamlike walks over before the race. Jockey Jose Ortiz said, "He broke clean. It was good. I was behind horses for the first turn, in the backside I had a window of opportunity to put him in the clear and I did. He's a young horse, only two races, so I didn't want to bury him behind dirt. It was good for him but he only has two races and is very immature, and I feel like he waits a little bit. I think race to race he is going to improve. He's a big horse, a threat to go long but just needed to focus a little bit more in this race."
The $200,000 Bay Shore Stakes (G3) featured a field of seven 3-year-olds sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Debut winner Victory Way was sent off as the 2-1 favorite over 5-2 second choice Gilmore, sixth in the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway after finishing second in the El Camino Real Derby, and 3-1 third choice Joey Freshwater, third in the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes before finishing a close second in an allowance last out.
Jockey Jeiron Barbosa sent 11-2 Prove Right to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 23.54 and 46.88 while pressed by Victory Way and stalked by Joey Freshwater. Turning for home Prove Right tired allowing Joey Freshwater to take over through 3/4 in 1:11.38. Kept to task by Kendrick Carmouche, Joey Freshwater drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Gilmore in 1:24.91. It was a nose back to favorite Victory Way third.
Left: Joey Freshwater in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Linda Rice said, "I was very happy. Kendrick rode him before. He stalked from second beautifully when he won on him before. I was hoping we'd get a set-up like that where he broke well enough to be in good position and could stalk off a little duel rather than have to press the pace himself. Great race, great ride, nice horse."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Bay Shore. Rice added, "He trained like a seven-furlong horse, and I think he could get a mile. He might be best at seven, but I think he gets a mile just fine. He's a quirky horse. He's got a lot to learn, but he's learning and getting more professional with each race. I was happy that he ran as well as he did. He switched leads better today than in the Jimmy Winkfield. I was also happy he performed so well without Lasix." He will go next in the Woody Stephens Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
Left: Joey Freshwater walks over before the race.
Right: Joey Freshwater returns after the race. Winning jockey Kendrick Carmouche said, "I had a very good trip. The 7/8 went perfect for the horse. I just wanted to make sure I could make the last 1/8 mile with this horse, and he did. I'm just glad he's got fight in him, because I think that's what made him a winner today. I'm just glad to be part of it. Linda had this horse ready to run today. In the post parade, he used to tend to get a little anxious and a little nervous, but I jogged him most of the post parade to keep him calm and after that, he was good to go."
Left: Second place finisher Gilmore returns after the race. Jockey Jose Ortiz said, "He broke a bit slow. Then, he didn't want to run through the dirt. The dirt hit him in his face and he wasn't running through it. I had to ride him every step of the way, but finally he got going in the last eighth of a mile. Then, he flew home. He felt the horses outside of him and decided to start running. I wish it was a bit longer – he would've got there. He was flying."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Victory Way walks over before the race. The Bill Mott trainee improved his record to 1 win and 1 third in 2 starts, earning $68,000 for owner-breeders Pam and Martin Wygod.
On to the Carter Handicap and Gazelle Stakes also on the card.
Past winners of the Wood Memorial
Past winners of the Bay Shore Stakes
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