VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Verrazano tops field in Wood Memorial

NEW YORK (AP) - Verrazano has a chance to give trainer Todd Pletcher the favorite for the Kentucky Derby.

Advertisement
The unbeaten 3-year-old colt will seek his fourth straight win when he takes on nine rivals in the $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on Saturday - a final steppingstone to the Derby on May 4.

Verrazano is the overwhelming 4-5 favorite, with unbeaten Vyjack 4-1, Normandy Invasion 5-1 and the rest of the field ranging from 12-1 to 30-1.

``He's been a rare horse who's been able to go from a maiden on Jan. 1 to the Derby favorite on the first of April, which you don't see very often,'' Pletcher said of the horse named for the bridge connecting the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Pletcher has been over this bridge before, though, with mixed results.

This will be the fourth year in a row he'll send out the Wood favorite, winning last year with Gemologist and in 2010 with Eskendereya, and finishing third with Uncle Mo in 2011.

However, Eskendereya and Uncle Mo both missed the Derby because of health issues, and Gemologist finished 16th in the Run for the Roses.

In Verrazano, the trainer has a potential star in the making. The colt won his first race by 7 3/4 lengths, his second by 16 1/4 lengths and the Tampa Bay Derby by three lengths on March 9.

``He's been able to handle everything we've thrown at him so far and now we have another step to go,'' Pletcher said. ``We're optimistic as he continues to develop he'll be able to continue to handle his assignments.''

Verrazano did not race as a 2-year-old. The last Derby winner who did not race as a 2-year-old was Apollo in 1882.

``At some point, it's going to be broken and, obviously, we'd love to be the people that do it,'' said Bryan Sullivan, the co-manager of owner Let's Go Stable, which owns Verrazano. ``But I don't think that's going to stop us. I don't think I'm going to point after the Kentucky Derby and say, `Geez, you know what? The reason why we didn't win it is because we didn't run nine days earlier (at the end of 2012).''

Verrazano will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez and leave from the No. 8 post. Vyjack, with Joel Rosario aboard, leaves from the No. 5 post.

While Verrazano will be making his New York racing debut - about 18 miles from the bridge he's named for - Vyjack is 4-for-4 at Aqueduct, including wins in the Jerome and in the Gotham on March 2.

Under a new qualifying system, the 20-horse field for the Derby will be determined by points - Verrazano and Vyjack both rank in the top 10 with 50 points, and have already earned their spots.

The Wood is worth 170 points: 100 to the winner, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth. For the other eight horses in the field, a win or runner-up finish is needed to get into the Derby.

``There's a lot of pressure because you want to get 40 points for a chance to reach the Derby,'' said Dominick Schettino, who trains 15-1 shot Always in a Tiz.

The field, from the rail out, is Chrisandthecapper (Jose Lezcano, 30-1); Normandy Invasion (Chad Brown, Javier Castellano, 5-1); Quinzieme Monarque (Irad Ortiz, Jr., 30-1); Elnaawi (Eddie Castro, 12-1); Vyjack (Joel Rosario, 4-1); Mr Palmer (Junior Alvarado, 12-1); Always in a Tiz (Calvin Borel, 15-1); Verrazano (John Velazquez, 4-5); Go Get the Basil (Jose Ortiz, 30-1); and Freedom Child (Elvis Trujillo, 30-1).

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Dempsey: At the Gate - Wednesday
News: 2017 Kentucky Derby Odds
Arrogate wins $10M Dubai World Cup
Baffert riding Arrogate in Dubai WC
6 nominated late to Triple Crown
Kentucky Derby to celebrate Man o' War
Sizing John wins Cheltenham Gold Cup
Campbell leads Hambletonian Society
MORE HEADLINES
 
HORSE RACING EXPERT
Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

Join Mike daily with top picks from Aqueduct or Gulfstream Park. You can also get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
Live Odds
HORSE RACING EXPERT
Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.
Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.

In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

Join Jerry daily with picks from Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park or choose a package that contains selections from Multiple Tracks for the LOW PRICE of $19.95! Or better yet, how about 30 Days of horse racing picks with his Monthly Racing Package for ONLY $99.95!
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership