Alpha Back on Schedule for Derby Start
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 4/20/2012 3:23:02 PM
Last Updated: 4/22/2012 4:37:42 PM
Coglianese Photos/Adam Mooshian
After a brief setback due to a laceration sustained in the Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I), Alpha is back on schedule for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Alpha turned in a game runner-up effort in the April 7 Wood, losing by a neck to undefeated Gemologist at Aqueduct Racetrack. He received cuts on his left foreleg when he was forced to steady in traffic on the first turn. Originally scheduled to depart for Kentucky April 16, the trip had to be delayed due to infection.
But trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said that Alpha is recovering and Godolphin Racing's son of Bernardini is scheduled to fly to Louisville April 30. The bay colt is expected to turn in his final serious work at Belmont Park before shipping out.
“He’s doing really well,” McLaughlin said April 20. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re doing well. Most likely we’re working him just once, here. We have him on the flight on the 30th, so we would probably work the 28th.”
McLaughlin did not rule out an earlier work for Alpha, who won both the Count Fleet and the Withers (gr. III) at Aqueduct this winter prior to the Wood.
“There’s also a chance we could work in the next two days, it’s just a gut feeling, and we’ll see about the weather,” McLaughlin said.
Alpha’s jockey for the Kentucky Derby is also a question mark. Ramon Dominguez, the regular rider of 2011 juvenile champion and Gotham (gr. III) winner Hansen , has been aboard Alpha for all three of the colt’s starts this year. With both horses headed to the Derby, Alpha might need a new pilot on May 5.
“Obviously we’re waiting for Ramon,” said McLaughlin. “But I’m not putting any pressure. Each day that goes by is fine with me, no problem.”
Alpha has won three of six lifetime starts with two seconds. He has earnings of $500,000.
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