The final round of prep races for the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve is in full gear this weekend, with three major preps from coast to coast. In New York it’s the Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets that takes top billing at Aqueduct, where a field of eight Derby hopefuls is expected to square off.
Read on for nine key facts you should know about Saturday’s race.
1. The Wood Memorial offers a total of 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, including 100 for the winner and 40 for the runner-up. Both are enough to virtually guarantee those horses a place in the Churchill Downs starting gate.
2. The race was first run in 1925, making this year the 95th edition of the race. The purse for that first running was $7,600.
3. A total of 20 Wood Memorial runners went on to win the Kentucky Derby, including Fusaichi Pegasus (2000), Monarchos (2001), and Funny Cide (2003) most recently.
4. Trainer Todd Pletcher has won five editions of the race, including two of the last three years. This year he has two contenders in Overdeliver and Outshine.
5. A lot of money is bet on Wood Memorial day. In fact, last year the total all-sources handle was $16,404,782.
6. Hall of fame jockey John Velazquez has won four of the last nine editions of the race. His four wins are the most of any active jockey but he still trails fellow Hall of Famer Eddie Arcaro by five.
7. The Wood Memorial offers a purse of $750,000 to top what is Aqueduct’s biggest day of the spring meet. A total of five graded stakes will be contested for $1.75 million in purses.
8. The legendary Secretariat famously lost the 1973 Wood Memorial at odds of 3-to-10, finishing third just two weeks before the Kentucky Derby. Five other Triple Crown winners ran in the Wood: Gallant Fox, Omaha, Count Fleet, Assault, and Seattle Slew.