(Edited New York Racing Association press release)
Despite his troubled trip in the nine-furlong Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct April 4, IEAH Stables and David J. Lanzman’s I Want Revenge was feeling no ill effects the morning of April 5.
“He came out the race real well,” said trainer Jeff Mullins, sipping a Red Bull outside of trainer Tony Dutrow’s Aqueduct barn. “We had him out this morning, went over him from head to toe, and everything looks good.”
Everything eventually looked great April 4 after an ugly start, as the Stephen Got Even colt lunged, spotted the field several lengths, and then, under the patient handling of jockey Joe Talamo, waited behind a wall of horses before finding room to surge ahead for a 1 ½-length victory over West Side Bernie in 1:49.49.
The hard-fought win could make I Want Revenge the favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs May 2. He will seek to become the 12th Wood Memorial winner to take the 1 ¼-mile “Run for the Roses,” and if I Want Revenge succeeds, he will join Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox (1930), Twenty Grand (1931), Johnstown (1939), Triple Crown winner Count Fleet (1943), Hoop Jr. (1945), Triple Crown winner Assault (1946), Foolish Pleasure (1975), Bold Forbes (1976), Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew (1977), Pleasant Colony (1981), and Fusaichi Pegasus (2000).
Mullins said I Want Revenge will ship to Churchill Downs April 6 and remain there through the Kentucky Derby. Mullins plans to return home to California for a couple of days before joining the horse in Louisville April 8.
“We’ll wait until we get there and settle in to figure that out,” he said of training plans for I Want Revenge leading up to the Derby.
I Want Revenge was 1-for-6 on synthetic surfaces in California. He shipped in for the grade II Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct March 7 and won by better than eight lengths on his first start on dirt..
Trainer Kelly Breen reported that both Wood Memorial runner-up West Side Bernie and fourth-place finisher Atomic Rain exited the race in good shape and he will determine plans for both horses within the next few days.
“Both of them probably ran the races of their lives,” Breen said. “They came back in great shape, so now we can start finalizing our plans.
“I have a horse running at Aqueduct on Thursday (Bold Union in the $65,000-added Lucky Lavender Gal April 9), so West Side Bernie will stay in New York until then. Then, once I get the details together, we’ll send him to Churchill Downs.
“Atomic Rain ran a good race, too, but I’m not sure what’s next for him. Maybe the Preakness (gr. I, May 16 at Pimlico), but we have other options, too. We’ll just have to wait and see.”