Others Try to Rebound from Losses
By Dick Downey
Horses seeking comebacks will run into horses with momentum in the Wood Memorial this Saturday at Aqueduct.
Specifically, Irish War Cry and Mo Town, both badly beaten favorites in their most recent races, run into the Kentucky Derby prep race machine that is Todd Pletcher's racing stable and Chad Brown's Cloud Computing.
This week's edtion of Pletcher runners looking to make the Kentucky Derby field stars Battalion Runner, and that's just in the Wood Memorial. The trainer also has Tapwrit competing in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday and one other runner in the Wood.
Battalion Runner has never competed in a stakes race, let alone win one, yet he just finished Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager at 26-1 odds. The son of Unbridled's Song, a $700,000 Keeneland September 2015 graduate, won a two-turn allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3.
So far this year on the Kentucky Derby Trail, Pletcher has won the Southwest Stakes with One Liner, the Tampa Bay Derby with Tapwrit, the Rebel Stakes with Malagacy and the Florida Derby with Always Dreaming.
Cloud Computing is the most lightly-raced horse in the field with only two starts. Most recently he came from off the pace to finish second to J Boys Echo in the Gotham Stakes in what was his two-turn and stakes debut. He now seeks to continue that momentum.
Irish War Cry ran one of the biggest winning races of the year in the Holy Bull Stakes the day after Battalion Runner's allowance win. However, he finished seventh as the favorite in the Fountain of Youth Stakes four weeks later, disappointing trainer Graham Motion and a host of bettors. He seeks redemption in the Wood Memorial after being shipped to Fair Hill Training Center from Florida early last week.
Mo Town is similarly situated but has even more to prove. Winner of the Remsen Stakes on this track last November, he finished a distant fifth as the favorite in the Risen Star Stakes, his only start of 2017 for trainer Tony Dutrow.
Pletcher will send Bonus Points out. He ran second in the Jerome back in January. He was last seen at 22-1 odds in the Withers, when he was fourth and right on the tail of El Areeb during the first six furlongs, but he couldn't keep up. El Areeb went on to win, and Bonus Points finished fourth, beaten five lengths.
True Timber is another horse looking for redemption. So far this year, he has finished third in the Jerome Stakes, second in the Withers Stakes and fifth in the Gotham Stakes, in that order. Kiaran McLaughlin trains.
Glennrichment broke his maiden on March 5 for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, timed in 1:39.99 at one mile. It was his fourth start.
Stretch's Stone gamely won an allowance race via disqualification at the track on Feb. 24 in his most recent start for trainer Bruce Levine. He was timed in 1:45.94 for 1 1/16 mile.
At this juncture, none of the Wood Memorial starters appears to have enough points to make the Kentucky Kentucky Derby field, so it's time to put up or shut up.
The Wood is race 10 on a stakes-loaded card with an estimated post time of 5:52 ET. It'll be part of a telecast on NBC Sports Network from 5:30 to 7:30 ET that will also feature the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby.
Derby points for the entries
Cloud Computing - 20
Mo Town - 10
Irish War Cry - 10
True Timber - 6
Bonus Points - 1
Battalion Runner - 0
Glennrichment - 0
Stretch's Stone - 0
Post positions, ML
1 Glennrichment, K Carmouche, 15-1
2 Mo Town, J Castellano, 6-1
3 Battalion Runner, J Velazquez, 2-1
4 Bonus Points, L Saez, 20-1
5 True Timber, P Lopez, 12-1
6 Stretch’s Stone, M Franco, 15-1
7 Cloud Computing, I Ortiz, Jr., 5-2
8 Irish War Cry, R Maragh, 7-2
All carry 123 pounds