NEW YORK (AP) — It's been 12 years since a horse who ran in the Wood Memorial went on to win the Kentucky Derby. The last time a Wood winner did it was 15 years ago.
That could change in four weeks. Frosted won the $1 million Wood at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday, and tops a possible five-horse entourage heading from New York to Louisville on May 2.
Frosted took the lead from 21-1 long shot Tencendur in midstretch and won New York's major prep for the Derby by two lengths on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Both 3-year-olds are on their way to the Derby, as well as third-place finisher El Kabeir, based on Derby qualifying points. Fourth- and fifth-place finishers Daredevil and Tiz Shea D are on the bubble.
Winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin says Frosted will have no trouble with the 1 ¼-mile Derby distance after his performance in the 1 1/8-mile Wood.
"No problem after the way he rolled up and passed them all," McLaughlin said. "I don't think another eighth-of-a-mile will be any problem."
Frosted earned 100 Derby qualifying points with his first win in more than five months and ranks fourth with 113. El Kabeir is seventh with 95 points after earning 20 for third, while Tencendur grabbed 40 for second and is 15th with 41 points. Daredevil (20) and Tiz Shea D (20) still have outside chances. The Derby field has a maximum of 20 starters.
In two other major prep races Saturday, Dortmund remained undefeated with a 4 1 /4-length romp in the Santa Anita Derby, and Carpe Diem won the Blue Grass at Keeneland by three lengths.
Frosted, ridden by Joel Rosario, won in 1:50.31. The gray colt owned by Godolphin Racing returned $6.40, $4.50 and $3. Tencendur paid $15.40 and $5.60. El Kabeir was third and paid $2.70.
"I'm from Louisville and I'd love to run in the Derby," Tencendur's trainer George Weaver said. "As long as the horse is in good shape, I'd be inclined to go."
The seven-horse field broke well on a sunny but breezy day at the Big A, with Toasting Master and Daredevil setting the pace. Tencendur ran just off the leaders most of the way before taking over turning for home. An upset loomed by the New York-bred until a determined Frosted made his run from sixth to victory.
A three-race losing streak by Frosted leading up to the Wood was a big concern for McLaughlin. He ran second in the Remsen and the Holy Bull and fourth in the Fountain of Youth.
"We know he has a ton of ability," McLaughlin said. "And the last race really made us scratch our heads, asking why? We did everything we could to change everything. It all worked out, and it's just a special win."
Among the changes were opting to bring the colt to New York rather than run in last week's Florida Derby and calling on Rosario to replace Irad Ortiz Jr. Frosted now two wins in seven starts — both at Aqueduct.
Twelve years ago, Funny Cide ran second in the Wood and went on to win the Derby and the Preakness; 15 years ago Fusaichi Pegasus won the Wood and then the Derby.
In other races at the Big A, favorite Condo Commando ($3.30) pulled away in the stretch and won the $300,000 Gazelle for 3-year-old fillies by 2 1/2 lengths over Puca, March ($21.20) held off the charge of Lord Nelson for a half-length victory in the $300,000 BayShore for 3-year-olds, and Dads Caps ($13.40) was a repeat winner in the $400,000 Carter for 4-year-olds and up, beating Green Gratto by 1 1/2 lengths.
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