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Apr 27, 2012

Monday arrival to Louisville for Alpha


Elmont, NY (Sports Network) - Wood Memorial runner-up Alpha will board a plane on Monday for a flight to Louisville prior to the 138th Kentucky Derby on May 5. The three-year-old colt has been stabled at Belmont Park for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Alpha, owned by Godolphin Stable, has been given extra gate schooling at Belmont to avoid the problems he experienced before last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs when he finished 11th.

"He stood in the gate this morning," noted Artie Magnuson, assistant to McLaughlin. "He was really, really good. We need to keep going. In the afternoon he gets cranked up. Last time (in the Wood Memorial), we didn't have a man in with him. It was (NYRA starter Roy Williamson's) idea at the gate. He said, 'Why don't we try to leave a guy out, but we'll watch. If Ramon (Dominguez) wants someone, we'll grab him.' Sometimes a colt will get distracted. They've done a great job with him."

Alpha, winner of the Withers Stakes, will have a breeze on Saturday at Belmont Park and fly into Louisville on Monday.

"We'll stand him in the gate at Churchill, and do it their way," said Magnuson. "He's not that terrible, so we'll probably stand him and they'll get to know him, and whatever way they want to do is fine with us."

The colt lost to Gemologist by a neck in the Wood on April 7 at Aqueduct. Along with the Withers, Alpha won the Count Fleet Stakes in January and has earnings of $410,000 for 2012. In six career starts he has three wins and two seconds for $500,000.

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