Aqueduct >> Saturday, April 7
$1,000,000 Grade 1 Wood Memorial >> Preview
By Full Card Reports
(Post Time: 5:15 p.m. ET)
Only the best can make the field of twenty in the Kentucky Derby. Most
experts would agree that both Gemologist and Alpha are amongst the top
twenty three-year-old colts right now, but one or even both could be
left out of the starting gate next month as they go head to head in the
$1 million Wood Memorial. The nine furlong competition is race 9 of 11
at Aqueduct on Saturday.
GEMOLOGIST (8-5 ML), winner of the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club as a
juvenile, has $103,855 in graded stakes earnings. That means he will
likely have to make the exacta to continue onward to Churchill Downs.
Undefeated in four tries, the Winstar colt is trainer Todd Pletcher’s
best three-year-old at this point. JJ Castellano will ride.
ALPHA (5-2 ML), victor in the Grade 3 Wither Stakes last out, has
$180,000 in graded stakes earnings. He needs to finish third or better
in order to feel good about making it to the Run for the Roses. Alpha
rides a two race win streak into this race. The bay son of Bernardini is
a pro at this point, having finished second in the Grade 1 Champagne
last year and competing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Ramon Dominguez,
coming back from an injury, gets the call to ride for trainer Kiaran
Kelly Breen’s stakes winner MY ADONIS (8-1 ML) could fly under the
radar. He was last seen finishing second to Kentucky Derby favorite
Hansen in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes. Before that he got his 2012 season
underway with a fourth place finish in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes. He
was third by 5 ½ lengths there after trailing by 20 lengths at the first
call. Elvis Trujillo will be in the irons.
Chad Brown is winning at a 24% clip and he has entered Broad Brush
Stakes winner STREET LIFE (4-1 ML) in this million dollar race. The
closer didn’t fare well in his debut at six furlongs, but has since
crushed two fields going two turns. It’s tough to say how good he is at
this juncture and that makes him an “x” factor.
TIGER WALK (15-1 ML) is picking up John Velazquez as his jockey for the
first time and he should be inspected if only for that reason. He closed
from far back last out to finish fourth in the Gotham. It was his
second try in stakes company having ran third in the Withers before
that. The extra ground will work to his advantage. Ignacio Correas,
winner of 2 races from 7 starts at the meeting, conditions the dark bay
son of Tale of the Cat.
Untested in two starts, THE LUMBER GUY (8-1 ML), will provide the speed
for this race. He toyed with a group of maidens to win by 9 ¼ lengths in
his unveiling on January 28. After that, he won an overnight seven
furlong stakes race at Laurel by 4 ¼ lengths after leading by 5 lengths
at the first call. Cornelio Velasquez picks up the mount for trainer
Casual Trick (20-1 ML) and Teeth of the Dog (15-1 ML) round out the field.
John J. Moore