Did we see our eventual Kentucky Derby winner in action last weekend?
A Gem of a Wood
Gemologist remained undefeated with a game victory in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct, holding on to prevail by a hard fought neck over Alpha.
The Todd Pletcher trainee is now perfect in five career starts, and came through when he needed to on Saturday, as the colt lacked enough graded earnings to get to Louisville going into the Wood.
His lone start as a three-year-old was a victory against allowance company at Gulfstream Park on March 16, and the colt was playing catch up throughout the spring.
Well, he has caught up.
He goes into the Derby off a sharp win and is proven over the Churchill Downs main track, winning a first level allowance race followed by a victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2).
I have liked Alpha all spring, and he gave a good account of himself coming up just a neck short of winning the Wood. He proved he was not just an inner track specialist, and goes to Louisville with a shot of being in the mix, and may get overlooked in the betting.
The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee likely will need a new rider. His regular jockey Ramon Dominguez seems likely to stick with 2011 juvenile champion Hansen.
Gemologist earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for his Wood victory.
Gemologist Wins 2012 Wood Memorial
No Cause for Concern in Santa Anita Derby
With Union Rags coming up short in his final Derby prep, Creative Cause had the opportunity to post a big effort and head to Louisville as the betting favorite.
I’ll Have Another had other ideas, getting a picture perfect ride from Marco Gutierrez to win by a nose over Creative Cause in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).
The Doug O’Neill trained son of Flower Valley came into the race off a stunning upset in the Robert B. Lewis (G2) at 43/1 and was sent off as the 4/1 second choice behind the 4/5 betting favorite Creative Cause.
Both runners came out of the race in good shape and will be Kentucky bound.
Liaison put in a disappointing effort in a sixth place finish, but trainer Bob Baffert is still considering a run in the Derby.
I’ll Have Another earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure for his victory.
I’ll Have Another Wins 2012 Santa Anita Derby
Done Talking Speaks Loud in Illinois Derby
The Hamilton Smith trained Done Talking made a good late rally to get up and win the Illinois Derby on Saturday, returning $27.20 for his upset win.
The colt rebounded nicely off a tenth place finish in the Gotham (G3) in his previous outing.
His $300,000 pay day gives him $311,000 in graded earnings, which puts him at 18th on the graded earnings list.
Smith said the colt his headed back to his home base in Maryland and will head to Louisville in a couple of weeks, although there is a chance he could drop a few notches on the graded earnings list next weekend.
Next Saturday there are two key preps, the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
The biggest disappointment in the Illinois Derby was the 11th place finish by Currency Swap, who was sent off as the 5/2 betting favorite.
The colt won the Hopeful (G1) last fall and was second behind Gemologist in his lone start as a three-year-old.
Don’t Talking earned a 85 Beyer Speed Figure for his victory in the Illinois Derby.
Done Talking Wins 2012 Illinois Derby
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