Following a prolonged stretch duel, Vegso Racing Stable’s Kentucky homebred Lord Miles prevailed in the $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Saturday, April 8, earning 100 qualifying points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.

Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., and ridden by Paco Lopez, Lord Miles battled to the finish alongside race favorite Hit Show and Dreamlike. The three rivals hit the wire together in a blanket finish with Lord Miles proving best by a nose over Hit Show. Dreamlike finished another head back in third.  The stewards reviewed the stretch run, but the original order of finish stood, giving Lord Miles the first stakes victory of his career.

“I knew they got in tight. Watching the head on, I thought we were good, but you’re dealing with opinion,” Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “You never want to be in that position, but I think I accepted that is something happened at least we would be second. I didn’t think there should be a change.

“Peter Vegso has been a big supporter of us and to run a horse at 59-1, he didn’t get scared away,” Joseph added. “He gave us a chance to do it. When you take chances, this is where you are. If the horse is doing good, take a chance, because each chance you don’t take is a chance you miss.”

Lord Miles, by Curlin and out of the Majestic Warrior mare Lady Esme, finished fifth following a trouble journey in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) in his prior outing. He broke his maiden in his career debut at Gulfstream Park last year at two and then finished a close third in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 1 to begin his 3-year-old campaign.

“After his first start, I was dreaming Derby,” Joseph said. “The Mucho Macho Man was good, but from there everything was derailed. The Holy Bull went wrong, the Tampa Bay Derby was a step in the right direction, but we were probably running out of time. Today, here we are, one more time and it worked out.”