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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Wood Memorial Probably Next for Alpha

3/18/2012

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Sunday he has changed his thinking and is leaning to the Grade I Wood Memorial for Alpha's next start.

Alpha, winner of the Count Fleet and Grade III Withers, had been under strong consideration for the Grade I Florida Derby after McLaughlin said the Wood probably would be next following the Withers win.

He acknowledged there are two reasons for his thinking.

McLaughlin said, “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.”

McLaughlin still holds out the Grade II Louisiana Derby on April 1 as a possibility for Alpha. “Our second choice would be the Louisiana Derby,” he said. “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. Union Rags also breezed at Palm Meadows on Saturday, and El Padrino put in a workout there on Sunday.

“He worked great,” said McLaughlin. “He’s really doing very well. All systems are go, and we’re very happy with him.”

--Edited Gulfstream Park release with additional content by Dick Downey

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