“Since it’s Kentucky, we’re just going to truck,” said Magnuson. “We’ve had good luck doing that – box stall, overnight, he’ll be fine. Going to and from Florida a lot of times we fly because there are planes available, and I’m sure there will be planes going to Kentucky, but we want to go when we want to go. So, we’ll leave Monday afternoon and he’ll be there Tuesday morning.”
On Friday, the son of Bernardini underwent a precautionary ultrasound on his left front leg to get a closer look at a laceration sustained when the colt clipped heels in the Wood Memorial last Saturday.
“When Alpha went into the first turn, he clipped heels,” Magnuson said. “He’s got a gash on his leg that we just wanted to ultrasound and make sure it’s fine, and everything is good. He took a pretty hard knock coming into that first turn and to still run like he did, that was quite a race.”
Winner of the Count Fleet and the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct Racetrack earlier this winter, Godolphin Racing’s Alpha was beaten a neck by WinStar Farm’s Gemologist in the Wood.
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Zayat Stables’ Dan and Sheila, 11th behind Hansen in the Grade 3 Gotham last time out, will make his next start in the Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday, April 21.
“We were obviously disappointed with his last race, but he’s come back with a series of solid works,” said Todd Pletcher’s assistant, Mike McCarthy, adding that the 3-year-old More Than ready colt will breeze again Sunday for the one-mile Jerome, the final stakes at Aqueduct before racing moves to Belmont Park on April 27.
The Jerome will be the fourth career start for Dan and Sheila, who broke his maiden at the Jerome distance on December 17 at Gulfstream Park, and who in his next start was fourth, beaten 3 ½ lengths, at the Fair Grounds in the Grade 3 LeComte going one mile, 70 yards on January 21.
“He was a decent forth in the LeComte,” said McCarthy. “Cutting back to one turn will be beneficial. It’s worth taking a shot here.”
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The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will present its first graded turf stakes of the year, Belmont Park’s Grade 3 Fort Marcy, in 22 days, and Phipps Stable’s two-time graded stakes winner Boisterous has already been confirmed for the 1 1/16-mile race.
The Fort Marcy will be the second start of 2012 for Boisterous, who closed out his 2011 campaign by winning the Grade 3 Knickerbocker at Belmont and Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack. He’ll enter the Fort Marcy having beat two horses when fourth in his most recent outing, a one-mile optional claimer at Gulfstream Park on March 18.
“His race down at Gulfstream was fair, but that turf probably doesn’t suit him,” said Robbie Medina, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “It’s a hard, short turf, and he wants a little different kind of course. He’ll run well in the Fort Marcy, even though it’s a shorter trip for him.”
With Boisterous having won the 1 3/8-mile Red Smith, the McGaughey barn plans to point the 5-year-old toward longer races following the Fort Marcy.
“I assume the Man o’ War [Grade 1, 1 3/8 miles, Belmont Park, July 14] will be a long-term goal for him,” said Medina. “How we’ll get there, I don’t know.”
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Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will be honored Saturday evening in Lexington, Ky. at the Crystal Boots & Silver Spurs benefit for the Kentucky/Southeast Indiana Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Lexington native McLaughlin was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and both on and off the track has since been an inspiration to others living with the disease. Trainer of 2012 Kentucky Derby contender Alpha, who most recently was second to Gemologist in the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial, McLaughlin also trained 2006’s Horse of the Year Invasor and 2006 Belmont Stakes winner Jazil.
In 2006, McLaughlin was honored as the MS Champion by his home chapter of the national society.
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Grade 1 Carter Handicap hero Jackson Bend is among the 35 horses Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito has shipped to Saratoga Race Course, where the Oklahoma training track opened Thursday for the spring. The Bruce Brown-trained Strong Impact was the first horse on the track Thursday morning, with Uragano, an unraced 3-year-old son of Giacomo, the first to post a recorded workout on Friday morning. Owned and trained by Richard Metivier, Uragano went three furlongs in 39.16. Saratoga opens for the racing season on July 20.