The last stop on the New York Road to the Kentucky Derby is the $750,000 dollar Wood Memorial Stakes this Saturday at Aqueduct Park.
The Wood Memorial is named to honor Eugene D. Wood, a New York State politician and horse racing enthusiast who had been a founder and past president of the old Jamaica Racetrack where the race was run until 1960.
A field of 9 Derby hopefuls will travel 1 ⅛ miles around the Aqueduct main track in search of qualifying points to ensure a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May.
The Winner will receive 100 points, ensuring a spot in the Run For The Roses, while the runner-up receives 40 points, which in most years is also enough to gain entry to the Derby.
The Grade 2 Wood Memorial makes a welcomed return to the Aqueduct calendar after a one-year hiatus, as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in its cancellation last year.
Eleven horses have Won both the Wood and the Derby, with FUSAICHI PEGASUS the last one to do so in 2000. FUNNY CIDE, who finished 2nd in 2003, is the last horse to start in the Wood and then Win the Derby.
The most famous loser in the Wood Memorial was eventual Hall of Famer SECRETARIAT, who finished 3rd in 1973 to stablemate ANGLE LIGHT.
A couple other milestones established in the Wood Memorial include nine Wins by Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro and seven Wins by Hall of Fame trainer James ‘Sunny Jim‘ Fitzsimmons.
This years race will be televised on NBCSN along with the Bluegrass Stakes and Santa Anita Derby as part of NBC Sports Road To The Kentucky Derby series.
The telecast is set to begin at 5:30. Post Time for the 97th Wood Memorial is scheduled for 6:00.
On Friday the Daily Racing Blog will take a look at the field for this years edition of the Wood. So stop back and see who we like.