Wood Memorial 2010 Surprises
The Aqueduct Racetrack, located in New York, has been host to the Wood Memorial Stakes since 1925. This Grade 1 horse racing event was again run on Saturday, 3 April 2010, luring a spectacular line-up of three year old contenders to participate. The Wood Memorial Stakes is seen as a preparation race for the Kentucky Derby, which forms part of the prestigious thoroughbred Triple Crown, and a number of the past Wood Memorial winners, have moved on to not only capture one leg of the Triple Crown, but win all three events.
Six brilliant contenders entered the starting gates of the Wood Memorial Stakes, to battle it out for supremacy, and the $750 000 purse money. One of the favorites for the race was a colt that is trained by the well known Todd Pletcher, and also has a legendary name for his sire, namely Eskendereya. This magnificent colt is the son of Giant's Causeway, and has enjoyed an unbeaten record in his last four starts, of which his most recent victory was the Fountain of Youth Stakes held at Gulfstream Park in February.
John Velazquez was selected as jockey for Eskendereya, which is owned by Ahmed Zayat, and the start of the race was nail-biting, as the field remained close together until the final turn. Up to this point, Eskendereya and Velazquez were settled in third position, but as the stretch towards the finish line came into sight, Eskendereya moved to the outside and began to increase the gap between him and the rest of the field. He crossed the finish line in a time of 1:49:97, with the Nick Zito-trained, Jackson Bend, taking second place, and Awesome Act finishing in third position. Todd Pletcher praised Eskendereya’s efforts by commenting: "The further he goes the stronger he gets. The horse has natural stamina." With the running of the Kentucky Derby, hosted by Churchill Downs on 1 May 2010, looming ahead, Todd Pletcher has confirmed that if training with Eskendereya continues according to their plans, he will be moved to Churchill Downs approximately ten days before the racing spectacular.