NEW YORK — Gemologist won the $1 million Wood Memorial for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct on Saturday, holding off Alpha by a neck to improve to 5 for 5.
The latest victory makes the colt trained by Todd Pletcher one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby on May 5. Gemologist will enjoy an important advantage over many rivals in the Derby, having already won twice at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Javier Castellano, Gemologist ran 1 1-8 miles in 1:50.96 and paid $4.40 to win.
The $600,000 first prize in the Wood assures Gemologist a starting spot in the Derby where the 20 entrants are determined by graded stakes earnings.
Teeth of the Dog finished third.
SANTA ANITA DERBY: In Arcadia, Calif., I’ll Have Another edged 4-5 favorite Creative Cause by a nose in the $750,000 race.
Sent off at 4-1 odds, I’ll Have Another ran 1⅛ miles in 1:47.88 under Mario Gutierrez in the West’s leading prep for the Kentucky Derby.
Blueskiesnrainbows was another half-length back in third for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who was trying to win his record seventh Santa Anita Derby. Paynter, one of his three entries, finished fourth.
I’ll Have Another paid $10.20, $4.20 and $3.60. Creative Cause returned $2.60 and $2.40, while Blueskiesnrainbows paid $9.60 to show.
ILLINOIS DERBY: In Cicero, Ill., long-shot Done Talking won the $500,000 race, beating Morgan’s Guerrilla by three-quarters of a length at Hawthorne Race Course.
Ridden by Sheldon Russell, Done Talking ran 1⅛ miles in 1:53.88 on the fast track from the No. 13 post position. The winner split between Morgan’s Guerrilla and Our Entourage just inside the one-eighth pole.
Done Talking paid $27.10, $10.80 and $6.60. Morgan’s Guerrilla returned $5.80 and $4.40, and 11-1 shot Hakama paid $8.20 to show. Our Entourage was fifth, and favorite Currency Swap finished a distant 11th.
ASHLAND STAKES: In Lexington, Ky., Karlovy Vary took an early lead and easily beat favorite Stephanie’s Kitten in the Grade 1 race at Keeneland.
The 3-year-old, sired by Dynaformer, is headed to Churchill Downs to continue training for the Kentucky Oaks, the biggest race for fillies on May 4 after a change in strategy has netted her two consecutive victories.
Still, questions remain about her abilities on dirt after this victory in 1:44.82 over 1 1-16 miles on the poly surface.