Alpha drew post position No. 1 in a field of eight for Saturday’s $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct, while undefeated Gemologist will break from post position No. 6.
In post position order, the Wood field consists of: 1. Alpha; 2. Casual Trick; 3. My Adonis; 4. Teeth of the Dog; 5. Street Life; 6. Gemologist; 7. Tiger Walk; 8. The Lumber Guy.
Godolphin Stable’s Alpha captured the Count Fleet Stakes and the Withers Stakes over Aqueduct’s inner track for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. He will be ridden by the returning Ramon Dominguez. Alpha is the 5-2 second choice at odds of 5-2.
“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 a little wide. I think he’ll appreciate the outer track.”
WinStar’s Gemologist made his first start of the year a winning one at Gulfstream Park last time out, taking an allowance race by seven lengths. Javier Castellano is slated to ride for trainer Todd Pletcher. Gemologist, a homebred son of Tiznow, has never been beaten in four lifetime starts. He was scheduled to be flown from Florida to New York on Wednesday. He is listed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite.
“After the Kentucky Jockey Club, we decided to plan on a similar program to what we did with Super Saver, which was two prep races prior to the Kentucky Derby,” said Pletcher, who won the 2010 Wood with Eskendereya. “With another good performance, some good racing luck, and some graded earnings, he could be in a good spot.”
Wood Memorial logo courtesy of NYRA