It all comes down to Alpha v/s Gemologist in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct
Godolphin Racing and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin have been wavering back and forth regarding their superstar 3-year-old colt, Alpha’s final prep race leading up to the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, but they finally agreed upon sending Alpha to run in the Grade 1,
$1 million Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial on 7 April, 2012, at Aqueduct.
With Union Rags missing an opportunity in the Grade 1 Florida Derby last week to go number one before the Kentucky Derby, Alpha, has a solid opportunity himself to lay claim to the top spot if he is to win come the Wood Memorial day, but between him and
the top spot there is a serious hurdle called the undefeated, Gemologist.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for WinStar Farm, Gemologist has been undefeated in all of his 5 lifetime starts, and during that perfect run he has downed Ever So Lucky and Currency Swap, twice, which means he is no mug, and he knows real well how to win a race.
Both of these 3-year-olds will head the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, which has reeled in eight runners to run over a distance of 1 1/8 miles.
The two horses that have run close to Hansen in their last start in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, My Adonis and Tiger Walk have been thrown in the mix as well. My Adonis finished second and Tiger Walk finished fourth.
The Kentucky bred son of Bernardini, out of mare Munnaya by Nijinsky II, Alpha has a slight edge over Gemologist when it comes to running in the Wood Memorial, because Alpha opted for both his starts of the new campaign at Aqueduct.
He won the Count Fleet Stakes there as his seasonal debut, and then went on to down the Grade 3 Withers Stakes, while Gemologist stayed at Gulfstream Park and turned in two allowance tests, back to back.
“We couldn’t be happier with him, he’s such a professional,” said Art Magnuson, assistant to McLaughlin. “Distance-wise, the longer the better for him. He’s got kind of a medium build, and in the two two-turn races over the inner track he ran well, (although
he might have been) have been a little wide. I think he’ll appreciate the outer track.”