Gemologist raced wide early, moved to the lead at the top of the stretch, and then held on after challenged by Alpha in the final furlongs to win the $1 million Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct racecourse. By winning the Wood Memorial, Gemologist has assured a spot in the starting gate for the 2012 Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. Alpha's second place finish also makes it highly likely that he'll have enough graded earnings to make the Derby. Teeth of the Dog finished third, while Tiger Walk rounded out the superfecta.
Alpha ran a huge race considering he broke from the inside and had to check in the early going. At the same time, he couldn't get by Gemologist when it looked like he was coming with a ton of run inside the final furlong.
Gemologist is a three-year-old son of Tiznow out of a Mr. Prospector mare (Crystal Shard), owned by WinStar Farms, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano.
I'll have more on the Wood, and all of today's stakes action, later on.
Below is the race replay, along with the payouts, fractions and internal splits for the Wood Memorial.
|4-Teeth of the Dog||$9.70|