Come-from-behind victories and underdog stories are commonplace in the sports world. Both are also extremely prevalent in the horse racing scene, and that continued Saturday at the Wood Memorial.
Wicked Strong lived up to the colt's name by knocking off two previously undefeated horses, Samraat and Social Inclusion. The New York Racing Association provided the results of the race on Twitter:
The colt emerged from the field victorious despite the fact that Social Inclusion came in as the favorite to take the top spot. Both Social Inclusion and Samraat were fighting for the top spot with just a few lengths remaining before Wicked Strong stormed past both geldings to emerge victorious.
With the prep race coming to a close, here's a look at the results and the storylines to watch with the Kentucky Derby now less than a month away on May 3.
Can Wicked Strong Make a 'Strong' Run at the Kentucky Derby?
While the upstart colt put on a surprising run to jump to the top of the pack at the Wood Memorial, don't expect Wicked Strong to remain under the radar at the Kentucky Derby.
By virtue of winning the prep race Saturday, the steed is in the historic race after earning 100 points, per the Kentucky Derby's official Twitter account:
Wood Memorial order (#KYDerby points): 1: 2-Wicked Strong (100) 2: 8-Samraat (40) 3: 11-Social Inclusion (20) 4: 7-Schivarelli (10)— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) April 5, 2014
The three-year-old still appears to be a long shot to take it all in the first leg of the Triple Crown but is now making waves heading into the race.
Wicked Strong's jockey, Rajiv Maragh, spoke about the horse's chances moving forward, per Jerry Bossert of the New York Daily News:
To me, he’s the Derby favorite right now, in my book anyway. He showed that more distance is going to be better for him. He’s really maturing at the right time now, and there’s a lot left in the tank, so I don’t think we’re at the bottom of him yet.
After pulling off one unexpected victory over two established steeds, anything appears to be possible for Wicked Strong at the Kentucky Derby.
Rebound Coming From Social Inclusion?
After dropping its first race ever Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack in the New York City borough of Queens, can Social Inclusion begin another streak of dominance in the sport on the sport's biggest stage?
One of the most talked-about horses leading up to the Wood Memorial and potentially a favorite for the first race of the Triple Crown, Social Inclusion might just be too young and inexperienced after falling just short in New York.
Andrew Beyer of The Washington Post provides his analysis of the young gelding:
This much is certain: Having raced just twice, Social Inclusion is underprepared for the Wood and the Derby. But it is hard to tell modern-day horse owners to temper their desire to win the Kentucky Derby. To many of them, it’s the only race that matters.
... In the Derby, sufficient preparation is almost as important as raw talent. No horse since 1882 has won it without racing as a 2-year-old, and that statistic is no fluke. Even if a youngster races only once at 2, he has gone through weeks or months of serious preparation to reach the starting gate. That foundation of fitness has proved essential in the Derby.
With a three-year-old colt now taking center stage following the Wood Memorial, it might not be Social Inclusion's Triple Crown for the taking. After falling down the stretch against Wicked Strong in New York, Social Inclusion's perceived dominance over the field might already be over.