Restoring Hope ready to roll in Wood Memorial

Aqueduct’s road to the Kentucky Derby concludes this Saturday with the 94th running of the Grade II, $750,000 Wood Memorial. A field of nine three-year-olds will vie for 170 Derby points (with 100 going to the winner) over 1 1/8-miles. The Wood Memorial is the 10th race on a stakes-laden 11-race card; approximate post time is 5:55 p.m. EST. Be sure to study all of Aqueduct’s races this Saturday if you’re playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#8 RESTORING HOPE (4-1) ships in from California for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Flavien Prat. He was last seen cruising in a 1 1/16th-mile maiden race, his third career start. RESTORING HOPE was targeting the Sunland Derby but was held out on earnings, hence the decision to ship to Aqueduct. He’s plenty fast early, so he should be able to clear from this post into the first turn. Only #4 OLD TIME REVIVAL might offer RESTORING HOPE a legitimate challenge for the lead. RESTORING HOPE is also training exceptionally, and his pedigree says he’ll relish the stretchout to 1 1/8-miles. All signs point to him today.

#7 KING ZACHARY (20-1) also steps up off a maiden score, which was his first start going two turns. He romped by over seven lengths, beating five opponents at Gulfstream under Robby Albarado, who maintains the assignment. KING ZACHARY could lay close or sit back if a pace duel percolates, as he’s shown versatility in his first three starts. The slight stretchout also works for him based on pedigree; a live longshot for sure.

#5 ENTICED (6-5, morning-line favorite) rebounded in a big way in Aqueduct’s Gotham Stakes last month, winning while wrapped up over OLD TIME REVIVAL after misfiring in the Holy Bull two starts back. If he can replicate that Gotham effort while picking up a furlong, he has a legitimate case in the Wood Memorial. However, that’s far from guaranteed and he’ll likely get overbet.

OLD TIME REVIVAL (6-1) has outrun his breeding so far but will be challenged even more sternly on Saturday. He was a game second in the Gotham but was losing ground late and picks up more distance in the Wood Memorial. He should set the pace under Jeremy Rose and last for a small share.

The play: $3 exacta 8/5,7, $2 exacta 8/4, $2 win 7 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Junior Alvarado has a good mix of solid undercard and stakes mounts at Aqueduct this Saturday. He’ll be aboard Prompt (6-1, Race 2), Morning Buzz (9-5 favorite, Race 4), and Pursuing Justice (6-5 favorite, Race 5) before getting a leg up on Do Share (5-1) in the Grade I Carter and ENTICED in the Wood Memorial.

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