Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and owner Godolphin Racing have been mulling multiple options for Alpha, among them the Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial, the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 31, and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on April 1. On Tuesday, McLaughlin said the colt was probable for the Louisiana Derby but today announced Alpha is expected to make his next start at Aqueduct.
The 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial will be the third start at Aqueduct for Alpha, who won the Count Fleet in January prior to his score in the Withers in February.
After winning the Gotham, Hansen was originally slated to return for the Wood Memorial before Dr. Kendall Hansen, who owns the colt in partnership with Dr. Harvey Diamond, announced today that the champion is now probable for the Blue Grass on April 14.
“More of my family and friends will get to go [to the Blue Grass],” said Dr. Hansen, who lives in Kentucky. “We were happy with our trip to New York for the Gotham and had a great time and made some great memories.”
Dr. Hansen added that while Hansen is probable for the Blue Grass, he left the door ajar for the colt to compete in the Wood Memorial.
“There’s a chance [he’ll run in the Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial] as everything is day-to-day,” said Dr. Hansen. “Never say never. We’re keeping our options open, and nothing is signed in ink. I knew this might cause a chain reaction with where the other horses might go, so I’m glad this is out there.”
Ramon Dominguez, the two-time reigning Eclipse Award winner for outstanding jockey, is the regular rider for Alpha and Hansen. Both McLaughlin and Dr. Hansen said Dominguez will respectively ride Alpha and Hansen in the Wood Memorial and Blue Grass.
Should Hansen be re-routed to the Wood Memorial, Alpha will then be pointed for the Louisiana Derby, McLaughlin said.
In addition to Alpha, the Wood Memorial is expected to attract Casual Trick, Gemologist, My Adonis, Prospective, Street Life, The Lumber Guy, and Tiger Walk, according to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes.