Kentucky Derby Betting Odds Ignore Wood Memorial Jinx for Verrazano

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 07:  Horses exit the starting gate during the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Normally, winning an important Kentucky Derby prep race in April is a great springboard to success in the Run For the Roses.

But winning the Wood Memorial Stakes, as current Derby favorite Verrazano did on April 6, has jinxed more than a dozen thoroughbreds since 2000.

The Wood winner is guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby and often goes off as one of the morning line favorites. But since Fusaichi Pegasus won 13 years ago, no Wood winner has won.

And in recent years, Wood winners have been cursed with injuries and other problems. Gemologist was the second betting choice last year but faded to 16th in the Kentucky Derby.

The three Wood winners before that did not even run in the Derby. And since 2004, the best two finishes were a fourth and a seventh.

“Maybe it is a curse or just really bad luck,” said veteran handicapper Michael Dempsey of TurfnSport.com, who has covered the New York circuit for three decades and ranked Kentucky Derby contenders.

“And remember his trainer Todd Pletcher has a bit of a curse going as well, as he is just 1-for-33 in the Derby.”

With a pair of Bob Baffert runners declared out of the Derby, the rest of the field of 20 has taken shape with Verrazano at the top. The full field will be announced Tuesday, with the post draw thereafter.

The list of Wood memorial winners and their eventual Derby placing are listed below.

Year Horse Jockey Time Derby
2000 Fusaichi Pegasus Kent Desormeaux 01:47.8 1
2001 Congaree Victor Espinoza 01:47.8 3
2002 Buddha Pat Day 01:48.6 DNR
2003 Empire Maker Jerry Bailey 01:48.6 2
2004 Tapit Ramon A. Dominguez 01:49.6 9
2005 Bellamy Road Javier Castellano 01:47.2 7
2006 Bob and John Garrett Gomez 01:51.5 17
2007 Nobiz Like Shobiz Cornelio Velasquez 01:49.5 10
2008 Tale of Ekati Edgar Prado 01:52.4 4
2009 I Want Revenge Joseph Talamo 01:49.5 DNR
2010 Eskendereya John Velazquez 01:50.0 DNR
2011 Toby's Corner Eddie Castro 01:49.9 DNR
2012 Gemologist Javier Castellano 01:51.0 16
2013 Verrazano John Velazquez 01:50.3