Gemologist, Others Work Toward Wood Memorial
On Sunday, Gemologist and others turned in their final serious workouts for Saturday's Grade I Wood Memorial.
This morning at Palm Meadows, Gemologist breezed five furlongs in 1:00.44 (1/6). Exercise rider Hector Ramos was aboard for the move.
“I was really, really pleased,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains the homebred son of Tiznow for WinStar Farm, by telephone. “He was going well, in hand, throughout.”
Winner of all three of his 2011 starts, including the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs, Gemologist returned to the races on March 16 at Gulfstream Park, going wire-to-wire in a seven-length allowance victory over grade I winner Currency Swap. His time for the mile was 1:35.95, good for a 95 Beyer Speed Figure.
“We came in with high hopes this winter, as he was undefeated as a 2-year-old with two wins at Churchill Downs,” said Pletcher. “Because his return was delayed, he might have been a little under the radar for some, but certainly not for us. From a conditioning standpoint, I thought he got exactly what he needed. Hopefully, he continues moving forwardly.”
Pletcher said Gemologist is scheduled to be flown from Florida to New York on Wednesday for the 1 1/8-mile Wood.
Also turning in his final preparations for the Wood on Sunday was Street Life. Under Junior Alvarado, the Street Sense colt breezed a half-mile in :48.10 (2/43) over Belmont Park's training track. He galloped out in 1:00.71.
“He did it easy, in hand, no problem,” said Cherie DeVaux, assistant to trainer Chad Brown. “He breezes faster than he runs; he’s got it figured out. He knows what he's doing. And, he came back well.”
Unraced last year, Street Life finished eighth in his debut at Gulfstream Park in January before joining Brown’s New York string. He then made a pair of starts around two turns on the inner track, coming from far back to earn his diploma on Feb. 11 and closing from midpack to take the Broad Brush overnight stakes on March 17.
The Lumber Guy
The Lumber Guy, who will be making his third career start in the Wood Memorial, turned in a 1:01.83 five-furlong breeze on Sunday over Belmont’s training track.
“He went in 1:01 and change and did most of it the last three-eighths of a mile, and the gallop out was good,” said trainer Michael Hushion. “He went out in 1:16. I thought it was fine. I’m happy with it. I think we’re going to give it a try.”
The Lumber Guy is unbeaten and untested so far in his brief career, having debuted a 9 1/4-length winner at Aqueduct on Jan. 28 and taking Laurel Park’s Miracle Wood Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths on Feb. 25. The Wood Memorial will be his first start beyond seven furlongs, but Hushion is willing to take a shot based off what he has seen from his protégé.
“He’s just a man, kind of at the level where you’d like them to be: strong, a little bit of a bully, and he eats real good,” said Hushion. “That’s the way you want a horse like that to be, but he’s not over the top either. He’s a nice horse to train.”
--Edited NYRA release