Good Magic, Firenze Fire Headline 40 Nominees To Wood Memorial

Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and reigning 2-Year-Old Champion Good Magic tops a list of 40 sophomores nominated to the 94th running of the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial on Saturday, April 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Good Magic, who is also nominated for the Blue Grass on the same day at Keeneland, is one of three Wood Memorial nominees with a Grade 1 on their resumes – the others being Champagne hero Firenze Fire and Breeders Futurity winner Free Drop Billy – whose appearance in Aqueduct’s premier spring showcase could increase the Wood Memorial purse to $1 million.

As part of the official Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial is the final stop in New York en route to the “Run for the Roses” and virtually guarantees the top two finishers spots in the starting gate onMay 5 at Churchill Downs. With 170 total qualifying points up for grabs, the Wood is worth 100 qualifying points to the winner, 40 points to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth.

If any horse in the field registers a Grade 1 or Group 1 victory prior to running in the 2018 Wood Memorial, NYRA will increase the purse by $250,000 for a total purse of $1 million. Should the qualifying horse be declared an official starter, the purse increase will be triggered and the Wood Memorial winner will earn $590,000 with the runner-up garnering $190,000 and third-place collecting $90,000.

Good Magic, owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Farm, finished a close second to Firenze Fire in his stakes debut in the Champagne last fall for trainer Chad Brown and followed up with a powerful 4 ¼-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Del Mar. The chestnut colt by Curlin earned the Eclipse Award for Outstanding 2-Year-Old Male and finished third in his seasonal bow on March 3 as the 7-10 favorite in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.

Last year, Brown sent the graded stakes-placed Cloud Computing to a third-place finish in the Wood before securing the trainer’s first Triple Crown victory in the Preakness that spring.

Four-time Wood Memorial-winning trainer Todd Pletcher leads all nominations with nine, including standout Grade 2 Holy Bull victor Audible, undefeated Grade 2 Rebel winner Magnum Moon, and the highly regarded Marconi, who finished third in the Grade 3 Withers in February at the Big A.

The Wood, which has produced 20 Derby winners in its storied history, has also attracted three nominees from the Hall of Fame barn of Bob Baffert, including likely entrant Solomini, who finished second to Magnum Moon in the March 17 Rebel at Oaklawn Park. Baffert’s other nominees are the ultra-talented Justify, who has produced triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in each of his two career starts and Gary and Mary West’s maiden winner Restoring Hope.

Recent winners of the Wood Memorial include Irish War Cry last year, Outwork in 2016 and Frosted in 2015, who ran second to American Pharoah in his Triple Crown-winning effort in that year’s Belmont Stakes before winning the 2016 Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap and the Grade 1 Whitney in his 4-year-old season.

The post Good Magic, Firenze Fire Headline 40 Nominees To Wood Memorial appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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