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Gemologist Leads Wood Memorial Workouts

Trainer Todd Pletcher pleased by undefeated colt's five-furlong drill April 1.

Undefeated Gemologist  turned in his final work for the $1 million Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial April 1 at Palm Meadows Training Center, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.44.

Exercise rider Hector Ramos was aboard for the move, the fastest of six workouts at the distance.

“I was really, really pleased,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains the homebred son of Tiznow  for WinStar Farm, by telephone. “He was going well, in hand, throughout.”

Pletcher said Gemologist was scheduled to be flown April 4 from Florida to New York for the 1 1/8-mile Wood, the centerpiece of Saturday's 11-race card at Aqueduct Racetrack April 7.

Winner of all three of his 2011 starts, including the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Nov. 26, Gemologist returned to the races on March 16 at Gulfstream Park, going wire-to-wire in posting a seven-length allowance victory over Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) winner Currency Swap. His time for the mile was 1:35.95, good for a 95 Beyer speed figure.

“We came in with high hopes this winter, as he was undefeated as a 2-year-old with two wins at Churchill Downs,” said Pletcher, whose leading Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender El Padrino  finished fourth in the Florida Derby (gr. I) March 31.

“Because his return was delayed, he might have been a little under the radar for some, but certainly not for us," Pletcher added. "From a conditioning standpoint, I thought he got exactly what he needed (out of the comeback race). Hopefully, he continues moving forwardly.”

Also turning in his final preparations for the Wood this morning was Magnolia Racing Stable and Hidden Brook Farm’s Street Life. Under Junior Alvarado, the Street Sense  colt breezed a half-mile in :48.10 over Belmont Park's training track, the second-fastest of 43 at the distance. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.71.

“He did it easy, in hand, no problem,” said Cherie DeVaux, assistant to trainer Chad Brown. “He breezes faster than he runs; he’s got it figured out. He knows what he's doing. And he came back well.”

Unraced at 2, Street Life finished eighth in his debut at Gulfstream Park in January before joining Brown’s New York string. He then made a pair of starts around two turns on the inner track, coming from far back to earn his diploma Feb. 11, and closing from mid-pack to take the Broad Brush overnight stakes March 17.

Barry Schwartz’s The Lumber Guy, who will be making his third career start in the Wood Memorial, turned in a 1:01.83 five-furlong breeze Sunday over Belmont’s training track.

“He went in 1:01 and change and did most of it the last three-eighths of a mile, and the gallop out was good,” said trainer Michael Hushion. “He went out in 1:16. I thought it was fine. I’m happy with it. I think we’re going to give (the Wood) a try.”

The Lumber Guy is unbeaten and untested so far in his brief career. He debuted a 9 ¼-length winner at Aqueduct Jan. 28 and took Laurel Park’s Miracle Wood Stakes by 4 ¼ lengths a month later. The Wood Memorial will be his first start beyond seven furlongs, but Hushion is willing to take a shot based off what he has seen from his protégé.

“He’s just a man, kind of at the level where you’d like them to be: strong, a little bit of a bully, and he eats real good,” said Hushion. “That’s the way you want a horse like that to be, but he’s not over the top either. He’s a nice horse to train.”