Horse Racing

2024 Wood Memorial Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

numberFire Racing
numberFire Racing
2024 Wood Memorial Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

The New York spur of the Kentucky Derby trail draws to a close on Saturday, April 6, with the 2024 Wood Memorial Stakes (G2), a historic event named to honor Eugene Wood, founder of the old Jamaica racetrack. The $750,000 race covers 1 ⅛ miles on the dirt, and drew a field of 13 horses. Not only is there a rich purse at stakes, but also 100-50-25-15-10 Road to the Kentucky Derby points. This means the winner is guaranteed a trip to Churchill Downs, the runner-up likely goes as well, and even the next three finishers are in a good place if they have run well in other preps.

The morning-line favorite for the Wood Memorial Stakes is Deterministic, the undefeated winner of the Gotham (G3), the local prep for this race. Other leading contenders include gritty Withers (G3) winner Uncle Heavy, consistent Derby-trail presence El Grande O, and last-out allowance winner Tuscan Sky.

Though no Wood winner has won the Kentucky Derby since Fusaichi Pegasus (2000), other major winners of the race who have gone on to win the roses include Triple Crown winners Gallant Fox (1930), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), and Seattle Slew (1977). More recently, Wood winners have done well in races further down the line: Mo Donegal (2022) won the Belmont (G1), Vino Rosso (2018) won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) the following year, and even Tacitus (2019) was third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont.

Wood Memorial 2024 Information

  • Race Date: Saturday, April 6, 2024
  • Track: Aqueduct Racetrack
  • Post Time: 4:07 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
  • Distance: 1 ⅛ miles
  • Age/Sex: three-year-olds
  • Where to Watch: FanDuel TV and FS2
  • Where to Bet: and FanDuel Racing

Wood Memorial Odds

These are the 13 runners in the 2024 Wood Memorial ordered by post position with trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds for each horse.

ML Odds
1ResilienceBill MottJohn Velazquez6-1
2El Grande OLinda RiceDylan Davis8-1
3Lonesome BoyHugo PadillaAdam Bowman50-1
4DeterministicChristophe ClementJoel Rosario7-5
5ProtectiveTodd PletcherKendrick Carmouche30-1
6Evening NewsMichael PinoJareth Loveberry20-1
7MeritSaffie Joseph, Jr.Edwin Gonzalez20-1
View Full Table

Wood Memorial Prep Results

The 13 entrants for the Wood Memorial come out of ten different races. The race with the most last-out runners is the Gotham: three runners come out of that local prep. Winner Deterministic hopes to repeat his effort, while third-place El Grande O and sixth-place Deposition hope to move forward. Uncle Heavy, who nosed out El Grande O to win Withers earlier on the New York spur of the Kentucky Derby trail, has freshened up for a return in this spot.

Two other entrants race in Kentucky Derby points races at other tracks. Resilience was most recently fourth in the Risen Star (G2) but was routed here instead of the Louisiana Derby (G2). Elysian Meadows has gotten a break since finishing fourth in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

The only other runner who comes out of stakes company is Lonesome Boy. He upset the City of Brotherly Love in runaway fashion at Parx a month back.

Four runners come out of allowance races. Two come out of the same one: Evening News won a mile race for non-winners of two lifetime on March 8, a race where Gettysburg Address finished third. Merit won a first-level allowance-optional claimer going 1 1/16 miles at Fair Grounds on February 17. Merit was most recently second in a race at that same level at Gulfstream, covering 1 ⅛ miles, on March 1.

The other two runners come out of maiden special weight races. Society Man broke his maiden March 9 at Aqueduct going a mile. Protective, the only maiden in the field, crossed the wire third in a one mile and 40 yard race at Tampa Bay Downs, but was disqualified to fourth for drifting.

Wood Memorial Contenders

These are the entrants in the 2024 Wood Memorial, in order of post position:

Resilience: He broke his maiden at the fourth asking and then stepped up to the Kentucky Derby Trail, finishing fourth behind Sierra Leone in the Risen Star. That race may be a strong one, as third-place Catching Freedom returned to win the Louisiana Derby; winner Sierra Leone runs back in the Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland. He can improve on the return to a fast track, and his tactical speed is a plus, though the inside draw in a large field may be a challenge.

El Grande O: It would be a surprise to see him win, but this New York-bred has been a consistent presence on the Aqueduct spur of the Kentucky Derby trail, snagging points in the Jerome, Withers, and Gotham. Expect him to be part of the pace from the outset, but he is game enough to keep battling on, and he missed by only a nose when trying this distance two back in the Withers. He should contend for another share.

Lonesome Boy: It took him seven starts to break his maiden, but he thrashed claimers in December, going seven furlongs at Parx and has now won three of his last four starts. His tactical speed is a plus, and his last-out win in the City of Brotherly Love shows some route ability. However, he has yet to face anything close to the class of horse he faces in this race. And, even though that last-out win came back reasonably fast, Parx races can end up looking a little inflated when horses shift to tougher spots.

Deterministic: He cedes experience to many of his foes, with only two starts, but both of those outings have been very good. He overcame a slow start to graduate at Saratoga on debut, and then came back after a long break to win the Gotham by two lengths with a bit more tactical trip. The biggest question is the stretch to two turns for the first time, and his pedigree is a mixed bag, but trainer Christophe Clement often moves horses forward second off the lay.

Protective: Trainer Todd Pletcher has won this race seven times, but one of his chances for an eighth is a long shot: the only maiden in the field. His pedigree is all distance, so he has a right to move forward in his first start at a mile and an eighth. There is a decent amount of speed, and Aqueduct plays fairly to closers, but this will be to little avail unless he takes a massive step forward from anything he has shown yet.

Evening News: He woke up after breaking his maiden for a $50,000 tag three starts back at Turfway; since then, he has run well in a pair of allowances at Turfway, including a last out win going a mile at that level. His pedigree is interesting for going this distance on dirt, though his lone dirt race was flat, and he won’t have an easy time with other speed to contend with in the Wood.

Merit: He dazzled on debut, going seven furlongs at Gulfstream in November, but has yet to run back to that in a pair of races since. At least he has tried this 1 ⅛-mile distance already, in an allowance last out, but he flattened out late, raising questions as to whether he wants this much distance. It is worth noting that he is trained by Saffie Joseph, who upset the Wood in 2023 with 59-1 bomber Lord Miles, but Joseph would need to pull another rabbit out of his hat for Merit to be more than an early pace factor.

Elysian Meadows: He won his first two outings against New York-breds, but was a no-threat fourth in the Sam F. Davis: his first open-company race and his first two-turn try. It would be no surprise if this Bill Mott trainee does want to be a router, but he still needs to find more to mount a challenge against the best in this field. His best chance might be a pace collapse, but even then, this level could be too much, too soon, even for a horse trained by the typically cautious Mott.

Tuscan Sky: The “A”-string entry from the Todd Pletcher barn, he makes his stakes debut but comes off of two fast daylight victories in maiden and allowance company. If this son of Vino Rosso can replicate that form here, he will be one of the top contenders. The good news is, he has tactical speed and the ability to battle, two things that will serve him well. The biggest question is footing: both his starts have come in the mud, meaning he must still prove he’s not just a slop monster.

Gettysburg Address: He dabbled in some early Triple Crown prep races, for Brad Cox, filling out the superfecta in the Street Sense (G3) and the Smarty Jones, but after two no-threat runs in allowance company, he has moved to the Dallas Stewart barn. The return to dirt should help, and perhaps the re-fitting of blinkers can re-energize him, but he would need a serious step up from any of his form so far to be competitive here.

Society Man: He was well enough regarded to try the Withers as a maiden, but after a well-beaten eighth there, he dropped back to maiden company and graduated. His previous effort going nine furlongs over a dry track was a perfectly credible third in maiden company last year, but this Danny Gargan trainee will need to find a lot more—and hope for a pace collapse—to be more than an outside chance to fill out a superfecta.

Deposition: He will be a massive long shot for trainer Uriah St. Lewis, but his two best races have come at two turns: his maiden win and a credible fourth in the Withers two starts back. His pedigree is all distance, making this no surprise. The far-outside post is a question, but those haven’t played too badly in route races at Aqueduct. A win would be a surprise, but if he can run back to his Withers or even take a step forward on a dry track, he has long-shot potential for exotics.

Uncle Heavy: A winner of three of four starts, he has won both his two-turn outings, including the Withers, over this course and distance. He has freshened up for two months since that race, but a debut maiden win suggests he can come off the bench with a good effort. Far-outside posts at Aqueduct aren’t as bad as they are at some tracks, and his under-the-radar connections should help him be a fair price on the board.

Wood Memorial Past Winners Past Performances

Since the advent of the points system, the Wood has been run ten times. (It was not contested in 2020.) Nine of those ten winners last raced in Florida.

Five came out of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2). Verrazano (2013) and Tacitus (2019) won that race, Outwork (2016) was second, Vino Rosso (2018) was fourth, and Lord Miles (2023) was fifth. Three others came out of Kentucky Derby prep races at Gulfstream: Mo Donegal (2022) was third in the Holy Bull (G3), Frosted (2015) was fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2), and Irish War Cry (2017) rebounded from a seventh-place try in the Fountain of Youth. Wicked Strong (2014) was fourth in an allowance at Gulfstream in his start before winning the Wood, though he had graded-stakes experience including a third in the Remsen (G2) the year before.

The only Wood winner in the points era to come out of a race outside of Florida was Bourbonic (2021). A 72-1 shocker at the windows, he came out of a second-place finish in an allowance at Parx and made his stakes debut in the Wood.

Wood Memorial Undercard

The Wood is the tenth of 11 on the flagship day of the Aqueduct spring meet. The card features four other stakes races. The $200,000 Gazelle (G3) is a 100-point race on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Other stakes include the $300,000 Carter Handicap (G2) for older sprinters, the $175,000 Distaff Stakes (G3) for filly and mare sprinters, and the $150,000 Bay Shore for sophomore sprinters.

This weekend is the final weekend of major prep races for the Kentucky Derby, including 100-point races at Santa Anita and Keeneland as well as Aqueduct. With so many important races all day long, every horse racing enthusiast should make plans to watch on FanDuel TV and wager through FanDuel and TVG!

About Aqueduct

An oldie but a goodie, Aqueduct (familiarly called the Big A) opened in 1894 in Queens, New York. The track was closed in 1956 for renovations, with an updated version opened in 1959. The only racetrack within the New York City limits, it has been updated several times since then. In 1975, they laid an inner track, and in 2017, the inner dirt track was replaced with a second turf course.

Aqueduct has been the site of many moments in racing history. In the 1944 running of the Carter, fans witnessed the first—and still only—triple dead heat in a stakes race when Brownie, Bossuet, and Wait a Bit crossed the wire at the same time. Between 1963 and 1967, Aqueduct hosted the Belmont Stakes as Belmont was being renovated. In 1973, Secretariat’s retirement ceremony happened at Aqueduct.

In 2013, Aqueduct embraced its position as a true city track by inviting street artists to paint murals in the grandstand of Aqueduct. An exciting overlap of classic racing scenes and modern style, the murals help make Aqueduct a fascinating, unique destination to enjoy a day of horse racing.

2024 Wood Memorial FAQ

Q: When and where is the Wood Memorial Stakes?

A: The 2024 Wood Memorial (called the Wood Memorial Stakes presented by Resorts World Casino for sponsorship purposes) will be run Saturday, April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York. The race is the tenth of 11 on the card.

Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Wood Memorial

A: Two trainers are tied with seven wins: “Sunny” Jim Fitzsimmons, who amassed his wins between 1930 and 1957, and Todd Pletcher, whose seven wins stretch between 2010 and 2022. Pletcher can take the record alone if either Tuscan Sky or Protective wins in 2024.

Q: Who is the favorite for the 2024 Wood Memorial?

A: Deterministic is the 7-5 morning-line favorite for the Wood after his victory in the Gotham. That should be enough to make him the favorite come post time, but make note if the up-and-coming Tuscan Sky (4-1) or Withers winner Uncle Heavy (8-1) challenges for that status.

Q: Who is the best Wood Memorial jockey?

A: Eddie Arcaro leads with nine victories in the Wood Memorial between 1944 and 1958, including a sweep of both divisions in 1947. Among jockeys riding the race in 2024, John Velazquez leads with four wins, most recently in 2018. He rides Resilience this year.

Q: Who won the 2023 Wood Memorial?

A: Lord Miles upset the 2023 Wood at 59-1 odds for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. and jockey Paco Lopez. Joseph returns in 2024 with Merit; Edwin Gonzalez takes the call. Lopez does not have a ride.

This year’s Kentucky Derby Prep Races have already been filled with excitement and anticipation as horses compete for a coveted spot in the 150th Kentucky Derby. Now, FanDuel customers can join the action with this No Sweat Bet Up to $10! See the promotions page for more information.

Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Hope is here. or call (800)-327-5050 for 24/7 support (MA). Call 1-877-8HOPE-NY or Text HOPENY (467369) (NY).21+ and reside in CO, IL, IN, KY, LA (permitted parishes only), MD, MA, MI, NY, OH, PA, VA, VT, WV, WY. Offer valid on first win wager. Verified FD Racing account required. Refund issued in non-withdrawable Racing site credit that expires 7 days after receipt. See terms at Offer not available in AZ, CT, IA, KS, NJ, or TN. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit (CO, KY, MI, OH, PA, IL, VA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-877-770-STOP (LA), visit, 1-800-522-4700 (WY), or visit (WV).