Gemologist headlines a field of eight contenders in the $1,000,000 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial (Grade 1) to be run Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, New York. Heavily favored at a morning line of 8-5, Todd Pletcher’s Gemologist comes into Saturday’s race off an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in which he won the one mile race by an impressive seven lengths. The undefeated son of Tiznow has four victories including the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club.
With only one month to go before the Kentucky Derby, the race is on to garner the graded earnings needed to make the Kentucky Derby’s limited field. As purse sizes increase, so does the minimum amount needed to make the Derby field. It appears that this year’s contenders will need at least $200,000 in graded earnings to make the list. With only one graded stakes win, Gemologist needs to win or place in the Wood Memorial in order to move up from his current spot at number 30 on the graded earnings list.
“We just want to get in a good position early on and have things go smoothly and finish up,” said Todd Pletcher on a national conference call earlier this week. “I mean the most important thing for him, moving forward, is to accomplish enough graded earnings that we're able to get in the Kentucky Derby field, so that sort of suggests, looking at the table right now, that first or second would take care of that and third would put him on the bubble. So we're hoping for a strong performance and it goes without saying we'd love to win.”
Like Gemologist, the 5-2 second choice in the field, Kiaran McLaughlin’s Alpha, needs the graded earnings a good finish in Saturday’s Wood would provide. Currently at number 22 on the graded earnings list, Alpha has a bit more room to work with than Gemologist.
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