Tipsheet: 2023 Wood Memorial Stakes

April 6th, 2023

A dozen three-year-olds will travel 1 1/8 miles on the dirt at Aqueduct in Saturday’s $750,000 Wood Memorial S. (G2). The 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series tilt will reward the top-five finishers with qualifying points on a 100-40-30-20-10 structure.

Wood Memorial Stakes Picks

  • #12 Mr. Swagger
  • #13 Hit Show
  • #11 Classic Catch
  • #1 Dreamlike

Wood Memorial Stakes Wagers

  • $15 win and place: #12 Mr. Swagger
  • $5 exacta: key 12 with 1, 11, 13

Wood Memorial Stakes Contenders

#1 DREAMLIKE (7-2): The Todd Pletcher trainee was a game runner-up in a maiden special weight route contest last time out and will add blinkers for this encounter. The $975,000 son of Gun Runner earned a strong 98 Brisnet Speed figure in his latest offering and rates as a top three contender with even slight improvement from the rail. Jose Ortiz retains the ride.

#2 SHADOW DRAGON (12-1): Bill Mott's charge closed well to be second in the Holy Bull S. (G3) two back which preceded an unplaced showing in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2). The Army Mule colt has been training in swift fashion as of late and wouldn’t be a surprise with his best offering with Eric Cancel taking the reins.

#3 KNOX (50-1): The Florida-bred son of Brethren came home second best in an allowance dash most recently and takes a big class rise in this spot for Saffie Joseph. The bay colt has some ability but will need a huge move forward to factor late in this spot. Jose Gomez will be in the silks.

#4 GENERAL BANKER (20-1): A stakes winner who has come home third in two straight graded races in advance of Saturday and has won or placed in five of his six local assignments to date for James Ferraro. The dark bay colt is not a prime win threat, but his ability to handle the distance makes him an exotics contender at a price beneath Frankie Pennington.

#5 SLIP MAHONEY (6-1): The first of two from the Cox shedrow rallied from well off the pace to record a second-place result in the Gotham S. (G3) here in his stakes bow. The well-related son of Arrogate ran a trio of good races at the maiden ranks prior to his most recent performance, and the colt will be a danger with a better break from the gate on Saturday. Dylan Davis will be in the stirrups.


#7 ARCTIC ARROGANCE (6-1): This consistently good Linda Rice trainee has been first or second in each of his six lifetime tries to date, with a runner-up finish in the Withers S. (G3) last time out. The Frosted colt has the hood off following an experiment with blinkers most recently and will be in the hunt from the break in a field lacking a lot of pace. Regular pilot Jose Lezcano will be in the irons.

#8 LORD MILES (30-1): This Curlin colt from the Joseph shedrow ran evenly in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) in his latest offering and gets a look in this run while making his third graded stakes attempt. The stakes-placed bay will be running from off the pace with Paco Lopez in the controls.

#9 CRUPI (12-1): One of three in the field for Pletcher, he was last seen finishing unplaced in the Risen Star S. (G2) and is still a maiden. The chestnut has obvious ability, but this seems like an ambitious spot to earn his first lifetime tally under Kendrick Carmouche.

#10 UNCLE JAKE (20-1): The wildcard in the cast aired at Laurel Park in his second career offering and will bring speed to the field for Brittany Russell. The expensive son of Uncle Mo is bred to handle the distance, and he comes in with a bullet five-furlong move most recently. Jevian Toledo will be in the stirrups once again.

#11 CLASSIC CATCH (10-1): This dangerous contender drove home a smart allowance winner at this distance at Gulfstream Park in advance of his stakes debut. The talented Classic Empire colt has won or placed in each career try to date, and will be tough to keep out of the money if the pace backs up in the lane with Trevor McCarthy up.

#12 MR. SWAGGER (30-1): The upset selection impressed at first asking prior to being unplaced in the Gotham (G3) in his most recent effort for Juan Avila. The $225,000 son of Maclean’s Music will be a major player if he runs to his maiden showing, and I expect the twice-raced colt to be forcing the tempo early on. The bay comes in with a bullet morning move and will have Carlos Olivero in the irons once again.

#13 HIT SHOW (5-2): The Withers S. (G3) romper is the one to beat in the field for conditioner Brad Cox. The gray son of Candy Ride has looked the part in his last pair of engagements and also possesses enough tactical speed to endure a sensible trip in this one despite drawing widest of all. Manny Franco retains the ride atop the once-beaten sophomore.