What an afternoon! Irish War Cry roared his way back onto the Kentucky Derby Trail with a decisive win in the $750,000 G2 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct yesterday. Mrs. Isabelle Haskell de Tomaso’s homebred son of Curlin – Irish Sovereign (by Polish Numbers) more than redeemed himself after his perplexing performance in Gulfstream’s G2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes last month.
The win earned the New Jersey-bred 100 points and a slot in the gate at Churchill Downs on May 6. His record is now four wins from five career starts with earnings of $699,460.
“It’s extremely gratifying to get this horse back on track. That was huge. I don’t remember having a situation like this, when I felt so much was on the line,” Graham told The Blood-Horse.
The victory was made even more poignant for all of us at Herringswell as Irish War Cry was ridden yesterday by Rajiv Maragh, who piloted Flaxman Holdings Ltd.’s Eclipse Champion Main Sequence for several of his amazing Grade 1 wins in 2014 – 2015. Maragh was seriously injured in a spill on July 10, 2015 which fractured ribs, vertebrae and collapsed his lung. After a long and painful rehab, he returned to the races last November.
“When I was down and out, these are the days I dreamed about,” Rajiv said in the same Blood-Horse interview. “These are the days that made me feel I wanted to ride. You never know if you’ll get them again after being off so long. I can’t be more thankful for everyone who has been there for my recovery and supporting me now that I’m back. I’ve never been so emotional after a race in my life.”
We were right there with you, Rajiv.
Wood Memorial Replay: