Enticed runner-up in dramatic G2 Wood Memorial Stakes
Godolphin’s Kentucky Derby hope Enticed had his final prep race before next month’s American Classic when the three-length second in the 94th running of the G2 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, USA, on Saturday, 7 April.
Enticed was bumped at least twice in the straight by the winner Vino Rosso, prompting a stewards’ enquiry and an objection from his rider Junior Alvarado.
The stewards left the places unaltered, saying that they did not think the interference affected the outcome of the nine-furlong race on dirt.
Enticed, drawn five of the nine-strong field, broke well and raced in second as Old Time Revival led and soon went into a clear lead, with his advantage stretching to six lengths down the far side. The front-runner went a fast 22.9s for the first quarter-mile and 46.68s for the first half-mile.
Junior Alvarado asked his mount to improve approaching the final turn and steadily closed the gap before going to the front briefly ahead of straightening up.
But Enticed was immediately challenged by Vino Rosso on his outside, with both horses some way off the inside rail.
Vino Rosso drifted left as he took the lead, leant on and bumped Enticed in the early part of the straight before going clear to win in 1m 49.79s.
Enticed beat the third Restoring Hope by two and a quarter lengths, with another six lengths back to the fourth Firenze Fire.
The Wood Memorial, as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, gave Enticed an additional 40 qualifying points to bring his total to 103.
Godolphin’s three-year-old Medaglia d’Oro colt is guaranteed a place in the final field for the 10-furlong G1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday, 5 May.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said: “Enticed ran very well to finish second, but I thought the stewards could have put us up to first place. They take down winners for less interference than that.
“Our colt ran a great race and is on target for the Kentucky Derby.”
Junior Alvarado commented: “I got bumped three times and I got pinched on the rail - this was way too much and I didn’t bump him once.”