Irish War Cry third choice in G2 Wood Memorial
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Fair Hill Training Center-based Grade 2 winner Irish War Cry, who suffered his first career loss when seventh as the favorite in the Fountain of Youth (G2) March 4, looks to get back on the winning track in Saturday’s Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct.
Isabelle de Tomaso’s homebred son of Curlin is the 7-2 third choice on the morning line from far outside Post 8 in the 1 1/8-mile Wood. New York-based jockey Rajiv Maragh will be aboard for the first time.
“I wish I could give everyone an explanation for why he ran so poorly last time. I’m not sure I can, I just hope he can bounce back from it,” trainer Graham Motion said. “He’s got to come out and prove himself. He’s coming off a very disappointing effort after running two really big races. He ran big speed numbers and looked very genuine, but he definitely has to bounce back on Saturday.”
Irish War Cry opened his career with back-to-back wins at Laurel Park – a maiden special weight event Nov. 11 and the Marylander Stakes Dec. 31 – prior to a front-running victory in the Holy Bull (G2) Feb. 4 at Gulfstream Park, besting a field that included Triple Crown contenders Classic Empire and Gunnevera.
He has had two works since the Fountain of Youth, the most recent coming Sunday at Fair Hill in his first local move since returning from South Florida.
“I definitely noticed him to be more wound up in the morning before he goes to the track, which is why I thought it would help him to be back here at Fair Hill. He could train on a track where he was familiar,” Motion said. “Right now we’re just trying to get him back on track and I wanted to run him in the race where he has the best chance to show himself.”
Todd Pletcher trainee Battalion Runner is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the eight-horse field. The Unbridled’s Song colt has won two of three and was entered but then scratched from last weekend’s Grade 1 Florida Derby, won by another Pletcher-trained runner, Always Dreaming.
Cloud Computing, 5-2, is second choice. The Chad Brown-trained son of Maclean’s Music has made just two career starts, winning a maiden race in February before running second to J Boys Echo, entered in Saturday’s Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland, in the Grade 3 Gotham.
NOTES M M G Stables’ multiple Grade 3 winner El Areeb is back at trainer Cal Lynch’s Laurel barn recovering from a knee injury that knocked him off the Triple Crown trail. “Surgery went perfect,” Lynch said, adding that he hoped to have his star back in full training by September.