Matt’s Blog — Weekend Preview April 8

Posted April 06, 2017 | Racing News

Race 10 – Grade 2 $750k Wood

The final stop in New York happens as Aqueduct has shifted to the main track for the remainder of the meet. The Wood goes as Race 10 on a 12 race card that also features the Grade 1 Carter and Grade 2 Gazelle. A pair of horses need to bounce back off of flops as the favorite in their latest races – MO TOWN and IRISH WAR CRY. Let’s start with MO TOWN who returns to the scene of his marquee victory in the Remsen. It’s possible that MO TOWN needed his last as it was his first try as a three year old. He was up close to the early pace, and just didn’t have anything left in the tank as the field ran down the backside. He has had three five furlong drills since, and should be ready for a much better effort. IRISH WAR CRY saw his unbeaten streak snapped at three as he was a total no show in the Fountain of Youth. BATTALION RUNNER scratched from the Florida Derby to run in this spot, and that move worked out well as trainer Todd Pletcher captured the race with ALWAYS DREAMING. Back to ‘RUNNER, he has really impressed in his last two efforts, the latest coming at a similar distance. He was an expensive yearling purchase and should be a viable alternative to the aforementioned horses. CLOUD COMPUTING ran a big 2nd in just his second trip to the track in the Gotham – there is still lots of time for him to be a very nice horse.


UNIFIED will be tough to catch in the Grade 1 Carter going seven furlongs. He came off a layoff at Gulfstream park with a sharp victory, and now looks poised to pick up where he left off last season.

MISS SKY WARRIOR has won four in a row, with the last two being Grade 2 events, so she is the logical choice in the Grade 2 Gazelle.

Race 10 Grade 2 $1 million Blue Grass

Unbeaten MCCRACKEN is the one to beat in the Blue Grass following his good looking victory in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. He skipped the Tampa Bay Derby which was won by TAPWRIT, and now the latter gets another chance to turn the tables. PRACTICAL JOKE was a good 2nd in his return to the track for his sophomore season and should be able to move forward off of that effort. J BOYS ECHO was a romping winner in the Gotham, and will be heard from late again.


A pair of Grade 1 races support the Blue Grass, the Madison and the Ashland.

Race 8 – Grade 1 $1 million Santa Anita Derby

A bulky field of 13 has been assembled for this one and the first question is do you take the proven stakes performers or the new shooters. For the proven ones both AMERICAN ANTHEM and GORMLEY need to bounce back from disappointing efforts. REACH THE WORLD and BATTLE OF MIDWAY were 1-2 in an optional claimers last time out and earned their shots today. ILIAD has been the most consistent of late, and should appreciate the fact MASTERY didn’t make this showdown. IRISH FREEDOM was a good looking debut winner and probably needed his latest, don’t be surprised to see him turn up with a better effort in his second try around two turns.


Also on the card is the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks which features ABEL TASMAN who is the best three year old filly in California not named UNIQUE BELLA.