Sunday morning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin told the communications team at NYRA Press that the Wood Memorial (G1) on April 7 at Aqueduct is the likely next stop for his Kentucky Derby hopeful Alpha.
Winner of the Count Fleet and Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct, Alpha shipped to Florida to train at Palm Meadows following his score in the Withers on Feb. 4 to prepare for a possible start in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 31.
“Today, the Wood is most likely,” McLaughlin said from Florida. “I think the only way we run in the Florida Derby is if they decide not to run Union Rags and El Padrino for some reason.”
Union Rags – who defeated Alpha in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park last October – was narrowly beaten by eventual 2-year-old champion Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and easily won his sophomore debut in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream on Feb. 26. El Padrino earned his graded stakes breakthrough with a gutsy nose victory in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds Race Course the previous day. Both colts are pointing for the Florida Derby.
McLaughlin said the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on April 1 was a secondary possibility for Alpha.
“Our second choice would be the Louisiana Derby,” noted McLaughlin. “We feel comfortable in New York and Florida because that’s where we’re stabled.”
Alpha worked five furlongs in 1:01.01 Saturday morning at Palm Meadows, his fourth breeze since the Withers.
“He worked great,” said McLaughlin. “He’s really doing very well. All systems are go and we’re very happy with him.”