On a day filled with heart-pounding finishes in the final trio of major Kentucky Derby (G1) preps, the $750,000 Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct produced the biggest surprise when Lord Miles registered a 59-1 upset over 17-10 favorite Hit Show in the nine-furlong, fast-track test.
Although not as big of a shock as Bourbonic’s 72-1 victory in the Wood two years ago, Lord Miles seemingly had a lot of improving to do just to hit the frame. Although a close third in a modest renewal of the Mucho Macho Man S. on New Year’s Day, Lord Miles had followed with a distant sixth in the Holy Bull (G3) and a fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3).
A key to Lord Miles’ success in the Wood was the start. He didn’t get a good one in either the Holy Bull or Tampa Bay Derby, but jockey Paco Lopez had the colt away alertly and in second place entering the clubhouse turn. Dropping back to fourth in the run down backside, Lord Miles began his rally on the far turn while racing in tandem with Hit Show.
In a four-horse scramble for the lead in upper stretch, the maiden Dreamlike poked his head in front of tiring pacesetter Arctic Arrogance, with Hit Show and Lord Miles poised on his outside to challenge. In a ding-dong battle inside the final furlong, the three combatants duked it out, with superficial bumping occurring as fatigue set in on all three.
At the wire, it was Lord Miles on the outside who found a bit more to put his nose in front. Hit Show, in between horses, edged Dreamlike for second by a head. An inquiry and objection into the stretch run resulted in no change. Arctic Arrogance was more than five lengths behind in fourth, while Classic Catch ran fifth in the field of 12.
“He got in such a good position and was more in the bridle,” trainer Saffie Joseph said. “Paco gave him a great ride.”
Owned and bred by Vesgo Racing Stable, Lord Miles returned $120.50. He completed the mile and an eighth in 1:51.17.
The 100 Kentucky Derby points Lord Miles earned safely puts him in the starting gate for the May 6 Run for the Roses. He now has a total of 105 points. Hit Show increased his point total from 20 to 60, while Dreamlike earned 30 points. Arctic Arrogance went from 16 points to 36 points, while Classic Catch secured 10 points.
The Wood Memorial was the second win in five starts for Lord Miles, who won on debut going six furlongs at Gulfstream Park in November prior to commencing his stakes career in the Mucho Macho Man.
Bred in Kentucky, Lord Miles is by Curlin and was produced by Lady Esme, a Majestic Warrior half-sister to juvenile filly champion Caledonia Road and multiple Grade 3 winner Officiating.