Hit Show (center) fights gamely in the Wood Memorial but has to settle for second (Chelsea Durand)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Gary and Mary West’s Hit Show came up just shy of victory in the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino for trainer Brad Cox, but ran admirably according to Cox’s Belmont Park-based assistant Dustin Dugas.
“He came back great this morning. He had some jostling in the first turn and down the stretch, but he battled on well and it was a good race,” said Dugas. “He ran really well, so I’m happy with him.”
Hit Show, who won the Grade 3 Withers in February at the Big A, rallied from fifth-of-12 under Manny Franco to make up ground with every stride into the stretch of the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial and was set down for the drive to the wire between Dreamlike and the victorious longshot Lord Miles. Hit Show was squeezed and bumped by his two rivals and came up a nose shy of Lord Miles, prompting Franco to lodge an objection against Paco Lopez, the pilot of Lord Miles. An additional stewards’ inquiry into the stretch run resulted in no change to the order of finish.
Dugas said Hit Show is scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs tomorrow. The son of Candy Ride currently boasts 60 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, good enough to ensure him a place in the starting gate for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 6 at the Louisville oval.
Dugas also reported Gold Square’s graded stakes-placed Slip Mahoney emerged from the Wood Memorial in good order after he finished a troubled sixth, 7 1/4 lengths behind Lord Miles. The Arrogate colt brushed with rivals into the first turn and steadied sharply heading into the backstretch, tracking along the rail before swinging four-wide in the far turn and putting in a mild bid. He entered the Wood from a game runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 4 at Aqueduct.
“Slip tried to make a mild rally after all that, but he’s tiny and that incident in the turn took a lot of wind out of his sails,” said Dugas. “He came back in good shape this morning, but he’s pretty tired. We’ll regroup and fight another day.”