Ozone Park, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Wicked Strong, starting from post 2, swept to victory Saturday to capture the 90th running of the $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
Trained by Jimmy Jerkens and ridden by Rajiv Maragh, Wicked Strong was sent off at 9-1 in the 10-horse field. Social Inclusion was the 8-5 favorite for the 1 1/8-mile race and Gotham Stakes winner Samraat was the 3-1 second pick.
Social Inclusion, breaking from the far outside post, joined 16-1 longshot Schivarelli on the lead up the backstretch with Samraat racing fourth. Nearing the half-mile pole, Schivarelli and Social Inclusion continued on the lead as Samraat moved into third from the outside and Wicked Strong gained ground into fifth.
Social Inclusion, ridden by Luis Contreras, had the lead on the final turn with Samraat second on the outside and Schivarelli third down on the rail. Wicked Strong rallied from the outside down the stretch and was able to catch and pass the leaders nearing the finish.
Wicked Strong, owned by Centennial Farms, posted a 3 1/2-length victory with Samraat nosing out Social Inclusion for second. Schivarelli was fourth followed by Uncle Sigh, Noble Moon, Kristo, Effinex, Harpoon and Los Borrachos. Kid Cruz was scratched with a sore shoulder.
The time for the Wood Memorial was 1:49.31 on a fast track.
The victory was worth 100 points for Wicked Strong in the Kentucky Derby points system and makes him eligible to start in the 20-horse Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs on May 3.
Wicked Strong, named to honor the people of Boston after last year's Boston Marathon bombing, records his first stakes win with the Wood and pockets $600,000, The colt has banked $714,610 with two wins in six career starts.
The 3-year-old was coming off a fourth-place finish in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 22. He began 2014 in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 25 by finishing ninth to Cairo Prince.
Wicked Strong paid $20.40, $7.60 and $4.20. Samraat returned $4.90 and $3.00, and Social Inclusion paid $2.70 to show.