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Apr 02, 2010

Awesome Act and Eskendereya face off in Wood Memorial



Ozone Park, NY (Sports Network) - Local winner Awesome Act and Fountain of Youth champ Eskendereya top a field of six three-year-olds in Saturday's $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. The 1 1/8-mile race is the last prep for these horses heading to the Kentucky Derby.

Awesome Act will be ridden for the second consecutive time by Eclipse Award winning jockey Julien Leparoux. The pair will start from post two for owners Susan Roy and Vinery Stables. The chestnut colt is trained by Jeremy Noseda.

"He's fit and doing well," said assistant trainer Wayne Tanner. "He's feeling the joyous spring."

Awesome Act made himself the local Kentucky Derby favorite with his win in last month's Gotham Stakes. That was his first start since finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last November.

Awesome Act recorded his first stakes victory with the Gotham and has won two of seven career starts for $221,691.

The Gotham was the first on dirt for Awesome Act. He had started five times on turf and once on an artificial surface. He lost the Juvenile Turf to Pounced by 1 1/4-lengths following a late rally.

Eskendereya will break from post three with John Velazquez again in the saddle. The chestnut colt was the 5-1 favorite last weekend when betting closed in the final Kentucky Derby Future Wager while Awesome act finished at 13-1.

Owned by Zayat Stables, Eskendereya is the top three-year-old in trainer Todd Pletcher's stable. The colt notched his second straight win with the Fountain of Youth and the third in five career starts. The chestnut colt has earnings of $275,700.

"We felt off such a big effort in the Fountain of Youth, six weeks to his next prep made more sense," noted Pletcher. "Followed by four weeks to the Kentucky Derby."

After finishing second in his debut last year, he won the Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park in October and was ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

Here is the complete field for the Wood Memorial in post position order: Most Happy Fella, Rosie Napravnik, 15-1; Awesome Act, Julien Leparoux, 9-2; Eskendereya, John Velazquez, 4-5; Schoolyard Dreams, Ramon Dominguez, 5-1; Jackson Bend, Calvin Borel, 4-1 and Carnivore, Justin Shepherd, 20-1.

All entrants will carry 123 pounds in the Wood which has a post-time of 5:12 p.m. (et).

The race will televised on NBC.

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