Trainer Nick Zito hopes the running of the Wood Memorial (gr. I) today at Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, N.Y.) goes smoother than War Pass’ flight from Florida to New York.
War Pass banged his head during the turbulent trip April 3.
“We had to put three staples under his chin because he hit his head on the plane,” Zito said, calling the cut superficial. “He looks great and he’s acting great.”
War Pass is the 6-5 morning-line favorite in a 10-horse field for the $750,000 Wood at Aqueduct Race Track over 1 1/8 miles, a final prep before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 3.
In his last start, War Pass had a rough race in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) and finished last by 23 1/4 lengths as the 1-20 favorite, the first loss of his career. The 3-year-old colt was restless at the gate, bumped at the start ,and was out of contention in the stretch. Before the race, War Pass was 5-0 and rated the leading Derby contender along with Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Pyro.
“I don’t know what the right word is with how you feel going into a race like this off a race like the Tampa Bay Derby,” Zito said. “You’re apprehensive, excited, happy, and cautious; I’m a fan, too, and I want to see a horse like War Pass run big. We know what works with him, so we’re going to do that. From what I can see, he’s going to put in a good effort.”
War Pass, a son of 1994 sprint champion Cherokee Run, is owned by Robert LaPenta and has drawn post 5 in the Wood Memorial. Regular rider Cornelio Velasquez has the mount.