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Apr 13, 2012

Wood and Santa Anita horses going to Churchill


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The 138th Kentucky Derby is next on the plate for the top horses coming out of two of the prep races held this past Saturday.

Coming out of the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct will be undefeated Gemologist and runner-up Alpha. Gemologist, trained by Todd Pletcher, will train for the Run for the Roses at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and Alpha still needs schooling at the starting gate.

"He came out of the race really well," said Pletcher from Florida. "The tentative schedule is for him to breeze twice between now and the Derby, then fly to Kentucky on May 1. We'll leave the option to call an audible if we so choose, but as long as we're happy with the conditions down here, that's the plan."

"With Alpha we're thinking about where we go, what we do, and how we get there, but we're pointing for May 5," McLaughlin said. "He came out of the race great. He did everything right.

"We might go to Kentucky a little bit earlier is for the gate, because he had a bad experience there [when 11th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last November]."

The Santa Anita Derby will send champion I'll Have Another and second-place horse Creative Cause to the Kentucky Derby.

"I'm not sure whether we'll ship to Kentucky a few weeks out or a week out," said Doug O'Neill, trainer of I'll Have Another. "Plans haven't been finalized."

"He looks good this morning," trainer Mike Harrington said Sunday of Creative Cause. "He was a little tired but none the worse for wear. He'll ship on the 28th."

Also probable for the Kentucky Derby is Bob Baffert's Liaison, sixth in the Santa Anita Derby.

"Liaison never has liked this track," Baffert said Sunday from Santa Anita. "He ran well yesterday. He broke his maiden here. But he ran better at Hollywood Park. (Rafael) Bejarano never really seemed comfortable on him -- he got stuck on the inside a little."

Trainer Hamilton Smith is also eyeing the Run for the Roses for Illinois Derby winner Done Talking.

"Hopefully it's on to Louisville from here," Smith said. "We came here with the intent of running in the (Kentucky) Derby if he did well; you don't get many chances to run in a race like that. The mile and a quarter should suit him with his late run, which is what you want. When the speed is backing up, hopefully he'll be kicking on."

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