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Apr 04, 2014

Wood Memorial attracts 11 Kentucky Derby hopefuls


Ozone Park, NY ( - Gotham Stakes winner Samraat and highly regarded colt Social Inclusion top a field of 11 3-year-olds in Saturday's $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

The 1 1/8-mile race offers a total of 170 points in the Kentucky Derby points system in determining the 20-horse field for the Run for the Roses on May 3, 100 points goes to the winning 3-year-old.

Trained by Richard Violette, Samraat will start from post 8 with regular jockey Jose Ortiz. Ortiz has been the only rider aboard for the colt's five career races.

Owned by My Meadowview Farm, Samraat is perfect in five lifetime starts and recorded his third straight stakes victory with the Gotham.

"This is a real horse now," said Violette after winning the Gotham. "We knew he had a shot to be a real horse after the Withers."

Samraat began his career at Belmont Park last October with a 3 1/2-length win followed by an allowance victory in November at Aqueduct. He posted a 16 3/4- length win in Aqueduct's Damon Runyon Stakes in December and came back on Feb. 1 by winning the $250,000 Withers Stakes.

The five wins have produced $583,200 in Samraat's bankroll.

Social Inclusion, owned by Ron Sanchez, has drawn the far outside post and will have Luis Contreras in the saddle.

Trained by Manny Azpurua, Social Inclusion posted a 10-length victory on March 12 in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park over Remsen Stakes winner Honor Code who was the 1-2 favorite. In the process, Social Inclusion set a track record of 1:40.97 for the distance.

"We have a lot of expectation with him," Sanchez said. "We have confidence. We came here just to, you know, to get the points, and we're pretty confident that we will get them."

The 3-year-old is perfect in both career starts. He registered a 7 1/2-length victory on Feb. 22.

"Once we get in the Derby, we're going to try to win if we get to the Derby," said Sanchez, "but first we're going to focus on the Wood Memorial and get the points, because if no points, no Derby. That's it."

Here is the field for the Wood Memorial in post position order: Kid Cruz, Manuel Franco; Wicked Strong, Rajiv Maragh; Noble Moon, Irad Ortiz Jr.; Harpoon, John Velazquez; Los Borrachos, Cornelio Velazquez; Kristo, Martin Garcia; Schivarelli, Javier Castellano; Samraat, Jose Ortiz; Effinex, Rosario Montanez; Uncle Sigh, Corey Nakatani and Social Inclusion, Luis Contreras.

Post time will be approximately 5:40 p.m. ET.

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