Social Inclusion is 2-1 favorite in Wood Memorial

NEW YORK — Social Inclusion is the 2-1 morning-line favorite despite drawing the outside post for Saturday’s $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

The Wood winner also earns 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, more than enough to insure a starting spot in the 3-year-old classic.

Social Inclusion faces 10 rivals in the 1-1/8-mile Wood, his stakes debut. The colt trained by Manny Azpurua makes only his third start following a pair of very fast victories this year at Gulfstream Park.

He set the pace in both commanding wins, breaking from the rail both times. A larger field for the Wood, and the outside post he drew on Wednesday, will be fresh challenges.

”Our plan was to come here for the Wood and then go directly to the Preakness,” owner Ronald Sanchez said. ”Last time, he ran so good we started thinking about the Derby, and the Triple Crown.”

Regular rider Luis Contreras will be aboard.

Social Inclusion isn’t the only unbeaten horse in the Wood. The New York-bred Samraat lays a 5-for-5 record on the line as the 7-2 second choice.

His past four victories have come at Aqueduct, including the Withers and Gotham Stakes.

”Social Inclusion is obviously a very talented horse, but there are some real horses in this race,” said Rick Violette, Samraat’s trainer. ”I think we’ve got a strong hand in this race.”

Samraat drew post No. 8, with Jose Ortiz set to ride.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, winner of three of the past four editions of the Wood, sends out Harpoon, 8-1 following a fifth-place finish behind Samraat in the Gotham.

The Wood field, with morning-line odds, in post-position order are: Kid Cruz, 20-1; Wicked Strong, 15-1; Noble Moon, 12-1; Harpoon, 8-1; Los Borrachos, 30-1; Kristo, 6-1; Schivarelli, 15-1; Samraat, 7-2; Effinex, 50-1; Uncle Sigh, 5-1 and Social Inclusion, 2-1.

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