The New York State road to the 2023 Kentucky Derby reaches its terminus Saturday.
Aqueduct Park will host the Empire State’s premier Kentucky Derby prep race- the $750,000 dollar Grade 2 Wood Memorial Stakes.
The race is contested at 1 ⅛ miles on the main track at the Queens facility.
The Wood was a Grade 1 from 1973 to 1994, and again from 2002 to 2016. There was no race in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Eleven Wood Memorial Winners have gone on to Win the Kentucky Derby, four of whom captured the Triple Crown.
The most recent Wood/Kentucky Derby Winner was FUSAICHI PEGASUS back in 2000.
The most famous loser in the Wood Memorial was eventual Hall of Famer SECRETARIAT, who finished 3rd in 1973 to stablemate ANGLE LIGHT.
The Wood Memorial, first held in 1925, 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.
Some major milestones established in the Wood Memorial include nine Wins by Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro and seven Wins by Hall of Fame trainers James Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons and Todd Pletcher.
It was last year when Pletcher notched that seventh Wood Victory with eventual Belmont Stakes Winner MO DONEGAL.
If you’re scoring at home, that makes seven Wood Memorial Victories since 2010 for Mr. Pletcher.