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2016 wood memorial preview entries and odds


The Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes goes down this Saturday, April 9 from Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York. Some of the best three year olds around will take to Aqueduct's dirt track and race 1 1/8 miles searching for the winner's share of the $1 million purse and the 100-40-20-10 points scale awarded for a spot in the Kentucky Derby in a month's time.

Eight three year olds will line up in the Wood Memorial - race 10 on Aqueduct's stacked Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:30 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all eight combatants for this important, lucrative, Road to the Kentucky Derby Grade 1 stakes - the winner of which the winner in virtually guaranteed a starting spot in the Run for the Roses.

2016 Wood Memorial Race Preview at Aqueduct Racetrack

Shagaf 2-1 - Chad Brown trained colt has three career starts and three wins. He stepped into stakes company for the first time last time out and won the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths on this track March 5. Before that were a two length Allowance Optional Claiming score at Gulfstream Park January 29 and a maiden score at by an impressive six lengths first asking on this track November 22. Irad Ortiz has been tabbed with keeping Shagaf's perfect record intact Saturday as the morning line favorite - from the rail. He will use this race as a tuneup for the Kentucky Derby - a race that he has already all-but-qualified for.

Outwork 5-2 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has three career starts and two wins and a second place finish. Last time out was a respectable second behind stablemate Destin in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 12 which followed an Allowance Optional Claiming score February 13 by 4 1/4 lengths, 10 months away from the track and a maiden score by 2 1/4 lengths in gate-to-wire fashion at first asking - at Aqueduct Racetrack back in April. Outwork has been impressive so far and looks to bounce back from his only career blemish Saturday when he leaves as the morning line second choice from the outside gate 8 with John Velazquez aboard. Outwork will need only a top four finish to get into the starting gate at Churchill Downs.

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Matt King Coal 3-1 - Linda Rice trained colt has two wins, a second and a third place finish in four career starts and enters on a nice two race win streak - an Allowance Optional Claiming by one length last time out on this track March 6 and a maiden score in October at Belmont Park. He makes his stakes debut Saturday having improved every time out and could be the most overlooked entry in the field. Matt King Coal could be a factor Saturday from gate 6 with Jose Ortiz guiding him but will need a top two finish to earn a starting spot in the Run for the Roses.

Flexibility 8-1 - Chad Brown trained colt has been good so far in his five race career - two wins and two second place finishes. Last time out was a bit of a hiccup however - a fourth in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes here January 30. It followed a nice win by an impressive 4 1/4 lengths on this track in the Grade 3 Jerome Stakes January 2 and a pair of good seconds in graded stakes action - the Grade 2 Remsen here November 28 and the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes also on this track November 4 - both results coming behind the terrific Moyhamen. He also won his debut in October. Flexibility had looked like a serious contender for the Derby before last time out and will be out to get back on the radar Saturday from post 5. Manuel Franco is scheduled to ride an entry that probably only needs a top four finish in order to qualify for the Derby.

Adventist 10-1 - Leah Gyarmati trained colt makes his fourth career start Saturday having posted a win at first asking - on this track by an astounding 11 lengths as favorite December 19 and consecutive third place finishes - last time out in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes on this track March 5 and in behind Shagaf the Grade 3 Withers Stakes also here January 30. He has been competitive every time out and hopes to be again Saturday. Kendrick Carmouche will be in the reins from gate 2 for an entry that will likely qualify for the Derby with a third place or better finish.

Dalmore 12-1 - has seven career starts already for trainer Keith Desormeaux with a win and three runner-up finishes. He makes his stakes debut Saturday having finally broken maiden last time out around two turns by 2 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita March 25. That win followed a second, a fourth and another second in MSW races earlier in his career. Dalmore steps up off a career best effort and will have Junior Alvarado aboard from post 7 Saturday.

Tale of S'avall 20-1 - has just three career starts for trainer Barclay Tagg with one win - that coming in his debut at Saratoga August 29. He stepped into stakes company for the first time two starts back on October 3 and finished fifth in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park and was also fifth in his most recent start - the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 12. Tale of S'avall hopes to bounce back off a pair of pedestrian outings and to get his first graded stakes score. Cornelio Velasquez gets the call from gate 4 as Tale of S'avall tries to qualify for the Derby with a second place finish or better.

Trojan Nation 30-1 - Peter Gallagher trained colt has yet to post victory in his career but does have thee third place finishes in five starts - all MSW races. He enters off a pair of those third place finishes - both on this track with the last one coming March 5. He makes a huge leap up in competition in so-so form and will have Aaron Gryder in the saddle from post 3.

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Wayne mardle on the world championship big checkouts the order of semi final night




So, here we are, sixty eight players eliminated, with only four remaining.


The two semi-finals are fascinating in their own way. The reigning World Champ Gary Anderson, takes on fellow Scot, Peter Wright. There's no love lost between these two. Who will control their emotions better? Who will win?


MVG takes on RVB, an all Dutch clash in the second semi-final. Can Michael get revenge for last year's beating at the hands of his boyhood hero?


Gary Anderson v Peter Wright

Sunday, 19:20

Live on Sky Sports 3


I have to say, I'm having trouble separating these two.


The reigning world champ has proven once again that he saves his best darts for Alexandra Palace. The strut, the swagger, the calmness that seems to exude from him once the World Championships come around is incredible. He loves the challenge.


Gary's performances have been assured and brilliant in equal measures. The way he stood up to Dave Chisnall's 180 hitting was commendable, many men would have folded.


The Champ smacked in 43 score of 140 or more, WOW!


Peter Wright is showing championship winning form, he and Michael van Gerwen are the only two players to have averaged over 100 in every match so far, that consistency will prove invaluable against Anderson.


There's a feeling amongst the darting world that if you've never won a televised tournament, you're either a bottle job or not good enough, or both of course. Peter is neither.


The world of darts has never been so strong, there are at least eight players who on their day can annihilate anyone. Peter has been unfortunate to have played Michael in every one of the five 'major' finals he's been in, one of those being the World Championship Final in 2014.


Like I said, going back to my opening gambit about this game, I'm having trouble separating them. It will come down to holding firm in the deciding legs of sets, it'll come down to a moment of brilliance and the odd miss at crucial times, that's the same in any match, but if you miss at this stage of the tournament, it's likely you will get punished.


The standard of play from both will most definitely cause this match to go long, possibly all the way to the 11th set.


Wright, ultra consistent, Anderson, dynamic. Both brilliant.


With my logic of this match going into at least a 10th set, I have to fancy over on the sets, and I'm loving the over 127.5 for Peter's highest finish, he's achieved this in three of his four matches played. The longer format gives him even more chance.


Recommended Bets

Back Over 9.5 Sets @ 6/5

Back Wright Over 127.5 Checkout @ 5/6

Back both players Checkout of 120+ @ 10/11


Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld

Sunday, 21:30

Live on Sky Sports 3


We know Michael is better, and we know he is playing better.


What we don't know, is what RVB takes to the stage, is it the one who dismantled Alan Norris, or the Barney who struggled against Phil Taylor, 'struggled', was Raymond's description of his performance, not mine.


If Raymond is slow to rise in this game he'll be in trouble from dart one.


Let's not try to work out how Michael will play, because we already know the answer, brilliantly.


The most likely scenario in this match is MVG dominating, building up a lead of maybe two or three sets then canter to the finish.


I'm not normally a 'he has to get out of the gate quick merchant', but I really do believe that Raymond will have to win one of the first two sets to give himself confidence and at least put some doubt in Michael's mind.


Michael has hit three 170 checkouts in the last two matches, he'll hit another I hope!


RVB has hit a finishover 120 in eight of his last 10 matches at Ally Pally.


Just for fun, RVB to hit a 9-dart leg at 40-1, it's worth a few pound of anyone's money, right? He and Adrian Lewis are the only two men in history to have hit two on the world stage.


Recommended Bets

Back both players Checkout of 120+ @ 10/11

Back Van Gerwen to hit a 170 Checkout @ 6/1

Back Van Barneveld to hit a 9-dart finish @ 40/1


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