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Mar 23, 2012

Gemologist coming north for Wood Memorial


Ozone Park, NY (Sports Network) - Fresh off a commanding season opening win at Gulfstream Park, three-year-old colt Gemologist will make his next start in the $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7. Trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed the decision from Gulfstream.

"I thought it was a terrific comeback race, just what we hoped for, and he came out of it in excellent shape," Pletcher said. "We felt that 22 days between the allowance and the Wood and then four weeks to the Kentucky Derby was preferable to waiting until April 14 and running in the Arkansas Derby or the Blue Grass."

Breaking from the rail post with Javier Castellano riding in the allowance race last Friday, Gemologist took the lead at the start and cruised to a seven-length win as the 7-10 favorite versus four challengers. He stopped the timer at 1:35.95 over a fast track.

Perfect in four career starts, Gemologist has total earnings of $184,855 for owner WinStar Farm. The colt ended his 2011 season with a win in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last November.

Gemologist is likely to face Gotham Stakes and Eclipse Award winner Hansen in the Wood along with Currency Swap who was second in last week's race. Also probable for the 1 1/8-mile race is Withers Stakes champ Alpha and Street Life who won the Broad Brush Stakes at Aqueduct.

A total of 11 Wood Memorial winners, beginning with Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox in 1930, have captured the Kentucky Derby, including Triple Crown champs Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946) and Seattle Slew (1977). Others who also turned the double play were Twenty Grand (1931), Johnstown (1939), Hoop Jr. (1945), Foolish Pleasure (1975), Bold Forbes (1976), Pleasant Colony (1981) and Fusaichi Pegasus (2000).

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