In a word, Vino Rosso‘s journey to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) has been bumpy.

Back in November, when Vino Rosso lived up to his sharp morning works and won at first asking for owners Mike Repole and Vinnie Viola of St. Elias Stable, the son of Curlin seemed a bona fide Derby candidate. But after a tumultuous third in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) and a fourth in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2), the horse named for red wine dropped to a distant fourth behind the likes of Audible, Magnum Moon, and Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Noble Indy in the pecking order among 3-year-olds in trainer Todd Pletcher’s talent-laden barn.

All of that changed April 7 when Vino Rosso put the disappointment of his two Tampa Bay Downs losses behind him. Returning to top form, the chestnut colt survived an inquiry for, yes, bumping in the stretch to post a three-length victory over 6-5 favorite Enticed in the $1 million Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G2) and give Pletcher a quartet of Derby starters.

“I’ve got memories of losing in this race at 1-9 (with Uncle Mo in 2011) and winning a photo two years ago with Outwork ,” Repole said. “This is a special race for me. I grew up coming to Aqueduct … and I was involved in one of the biggest upsets in the race. Now I’ve won two out of three years. That’s how it works.”

How it worked for Vino Rosso was he received 100 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, punching his ticket to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. Coming into the Wood, Vino Rosso had just seven points and was 38th on the leaderboard.

Enticed, who received 40 points for finishing second, already had a Derby berth wrapped up with 63 points coming into the 1 1/8-mile Wood. According to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, the Godolphin homebred will continue on to the Derby.

“I’m sure there will be no change (in Derby plans),” McLaughlin said. “He ran a great race.”

Gary and Mary West’s Restoring Hope, coming off a maiden win at Santa Anita Park for trainer Bob Baffert, was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third and picked up 20 points. He will need a slew of defections to compete in the opening leg of the Triple Crown.