Verrazano, the 4/5 morning line and post time favorite, fought off tough challenge from the previously undefeated Vyjack and the late running Normandy Invasion to win the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in New York. Normandy Invasion closed well at the end of the race to grab the second spot while Vyjack suffered the first defeat in his career in finishing third.
The early pace of the Wood, set by huge long shot Chrisandthecapper, was exceptionally soft with opening splits of 24.89 and 49.62 seconds. After a three-quarter mark of 1:13.74, Verrazano took command of the race but could not pull away from his rivals. Vyjack attempted to wear down the favorite but eventually gave way in the final furlongs.
Freedom Child broke very slow from the race and was declared a non-starter.
Verrazano is a three-year-old colt by More Than Ready out of a Giant's Causeway mare (Enchanted Rock), trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez.
Earlier on the Aqueduct card:
- Withgreatpleasure pulled off an upset in the Grade 2 Ruffian with a short victory over favorite My Wandy's Girl. Withgreatpleasure paid a robust $30.60 for the win.
- Post time favorite Close Hatches goes gate-to-wire to win the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes, turning back a bid from morning line favorite Princess of Sylmar at the top of the stretch.
- Declan's Warrior upset Clearly Now in the Grade 3 Bay Shore and paid $26.40; and finally
- Swagger Jack upset the Grade 1 Carter at odds of 15/1.
Below are the payouts, fractions and internal splits for the 2013 Wood Memorial:
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