Awesome Act worked six furlongs in 1:14.05 over the Belmont Park training track March 25, his first serious move since winning the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct and final timed work before an expected start in the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 3.
With exercise rider Wayne Tanner in the irons, the chestnut son of Awesome Again worked in company with Vinery Stables’ stakes-winning Peace Town.
“We decided to give him an easy week (after the Gotham) and then the weather wasn’t so good,” said trainer Jeremy Noseda, who arrived in town for the session and will return to his base in England. “We didn’t have tack on him for about eight or nine days. This was his first proper piece of work in two and a half weeks.”
Awesome Act breezed an easy half-mile in :50.43 on March 20.
“I’m happy,” Noseda said of the effort. “The work was there to help put us back on schedule and he went as we wanted. It will do him good and get him sharp. He had a good blow, which will do his wind good. I hope that work put him right.”
Noseda said that the colt would most likely blow out three-eighths of a mile March 31, but the trainer does not plan to return to New York until the night before the race.
The Gotham was the first start on dirt for Awesome Act, who is owned in partnership by Susan Roy and Vinery Stables, and his first start since finishing fourth by 1 1/4 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) last November.
A total of 61 horses were nominated for the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, New York’s final major stepping stone to the Triple Crown.
In addition to Awesome Act, NYRA Stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes said likely candidates for the Wood include Fountain of Youth (gr. II) winner Eskendereya and runner-up Jackson Bend, as well as recent maiden winner Carnivore. Super Saver, third in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) on March 13, First Dude, fifth in the Florida Derby (gr. I), and Turf Melody, fourth in the Gotham, were listed as questionable.
In other 3-year-old news, trainer Gary Contessa said that Harold Lerner’s Eightyfiveinafifty is progressing well toward an expected start in the $200,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old sprinters next weekend.
“He’s had two straight phenomenal works and he’s come back from all of his works really well,” Contessa said. “I’ll work him one last time this Sunday and if all is well, we’ll see you in the Bay Shore.”
Eightyfiveinafifty breezed six furlongs in 1:12.37 March 21 and turned in a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.80 March 11, both over the inner track at Aqueduct. The Bay Shore will be his first start since a troubled bid in the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct Feb. 6, in which he went wide around the first turn and ran through the rail before returning to the barn area.