Many prognosticators were giving Alpha (5-2) a chance to win the Wood Memorial, but Gemologist was having none of it. He moved to five-for-five in capturing the victory by a half-length and netting the $1,000,000 purse for his efforts.
Alpha did prove he was a force to be reckoned with, as he seemed to take control before Gemologist put the brakes on the rally with a strong finish.
Coming into this race, many had their doubts about Alpha's speed, even though he had won his first two races. It was believed the other horses in those races didn't represent top notch competition.
If nothing else, Alpha proved he could run with the best, finishing second.
The nine furlong final clock reading was 1:50.96 and Gemologist solidified himself as the top horse in the field.
Jockey Javier Castellano had already rode Gemologist to a victory at G2-Kentucky Jockey Club last fall and coming in, the horse was an 8-5 favorite to capture the Wood Memorial.
More than the purse was at stake in this race for Castellano and Gemologist. The horse may have needed a top two finish to make the field for the Kentucky Derby on May 5.
With his impressive victory, he should have that issue wrapped up at this point.
Gemologist has been likened to Uncle Mo by many. Both horses were or are trained by Todd Pletcher. They both ended their two-year-old season with graded stakes wins at Churchill Downs. Both kicked off their three-year-old campaign with a win at Gulfstream Park.
Uncle Mo became ill and couldn't run in the Kentucky Derby. As long as Gemologist stays healthy, he seems primed to be ready for his shot at the Derby.
With this performance today against a solid field featuring Alpha and Teeth of the Dog who finished third, Gemologist is my early favorite to take the Kentucky Derby.
We'll have to see how this transpires. There is less than a month to go.
Odds from Examiner.com