Friday, April 6, 2012

Wood Memorial More Than Just A Two Horse Race

Alpha and Casual Trick, two sons of third crop sire Bernardini headline the Wood Memorial. The young sire’s progeny are already winning at classic distances and he is proving to be a worthy successor to his recently retired sire, A.P. Indy.

AlphaPhotoCoglineseALPHA (Bernardini—Munnaya, by Nijinsky), the more accomplished of the two, owns two dominating stakes victories over the Aqueduct course. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlan, Alpha has the class and pedigree to handle classic distances.

CasualTrickAfter a second place finish in the Gulfstream Derby, CASUAL TRICK (Bernardini - Casual Look, by Red Ransom) threw two clunkers. He had issues at the break in both races, but not enough to warrant his poor performance. Casual Trick’s dam placed in a Group 2 as a juvenile and won the Epsom Oaks (Gr.1). This distaff line produced the brilliant Magnificience, who set a new stakes record in the Santa Paula. Casual Trick needs to step it up if he wants to compete with this group.

gemologistThe buzz horse expected to give Alpha all he can handle is the Todd Pletcher trained GEMOLOGIST (Tiznow - Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector). The undefeated colt earned an easy victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G-2) last fall and laughed at Hopeful Stakes (G-3) winner Currency Swap in their three year old debut. Gemologist should handle 1 1/8 miles. He’s a half brother to two stakes winners and his dam is a full sister to the multiple graded stakes winner Withallprobibility. That one is the dam of the Grade 1 winning mare Summer Colony.

TheLumberGuyAlso untested and undefeated is THE LUMBER GUY (Grand Slam - Boltono, by Unbridled's Song). The pretty gray colt grabbed the lead in both starts and never looked back, defeating his opponents by a combined 14+ lengths. Like Gemologist, The Lumber Guy is a half brother to two stakes winners. The Mike Hushion trainee is jumping from seven to nine furlongs and stepping way up in class.

StreetLifeSTREET LIFE (Street Sense - Stone Hope, by Grindstone) has improved in each of his starts since winning his debut in January. The late maturing colt has the pedigree to run all day and may be a logical candidate for the Belmont Stakes. His unraced dam is a half sister to Jefferson Cup (G-2) hero Brilliant and this distaff family produced Jerome (G-1) winner Furiously.

MyAdonisPhotoSteveQueenThe distant bridesmaid in his last two starts, MY ADONIS (Pleasantly Perfect - Silent Justice, by Elusive Quality) has the pedigree to stretch out. His Bris speed figures are improving and he could surprise if the top two falter.

TigerWalkPhotoVanessaNgTIGER WALK (Tale of the Cat - Majestic Trail, by Kris S.) made up ground in the stretch of the Withers and Gotham, but finished well behind the winners. He has the pedigree to improve with distance. His unraced is a half-sister to Norfolk Stakes hero Supremo and to a German stakes winner. His third dam is top mare Andover Way, dam of the international stallion Dynaformer. So far, Tiger Walk hasn’t been competitive with the top level dirt horses. He won his maiden by five lengths on the turf, so perhaps we’ll see him on the lawn this summer.

TeethOfTheDogTrainer Michael Matz is aiming high with the promising TEETH OF THE DOG (Bluegrass Cat - Deputy Reality, by Deputy Minister). The colt is only one of two of Bluegrass Cat’s offspring to be successful at 1 1/8 miles. Other than his stakes winning second dam, there is little blacktype in this immediate distaff line.


Track Bias: Ten races have been held at 1 1/8 miles this meet. 70% of them have been won by pace setter/pressers. No rain is forecast and the track should be fast.

The race appears to boil down to ALPHA vs. GEMOLOGIST, but not so fast. The lone stalker STREET LIFE has the most distance oriented pedigree in the field and he could fly by them all late. MY ADONIS is improving and should love the extra distance. THE LUMBER GUY is an intriguing long shot. He could go straight to the front and stay there. He has the pedigree to stretch out, strong speed figures, and his trainer is 28% winners with the sprint to route angle. TEETH OF THE DOG is the only horse in the field who has been successfully tested at 1 1/8 miles.




#4 TEETH OF THE DOGlongshot