Borel and Always in a Tiz ready for Wood
Always in a Tiz continues to prepare for the Wood Memorial on April 6, and he will have a new jockey in Calvin Borel.
Borel was recently named to ride the son of Tiznow, who was fifth in the Southwest Stakes over a sloppy track. Always in a Tiz bypassed the Rebel and instead returned to the stable of trainer Dominick Schettino to prepare for the Wood.
“Anthony Bonomo, Jr., who is the racing manager for MeB Stables, and I discussed it before making the decision,” said Schettino of the move to Borel, whose last appearance at Aqueduct came in 2010, when he was second on Jackson Bend in the Wood Memorial and second on Hurricane Ike in the Bay Shore. “He knows how to win the big races and he knows how to win the Derby.”
Always in a Tiz went five furlongs in 1:03.35 on the Belmont Park training track on Thursday.
How the Wood field is shaping up
Probables for the Wood: Verrazano, Vyjack, Elnaawi, Mr. Palmer, Normandy Invasion, Always in a Tiz, Freedom Child, West Hills Giant, Quienzieme Monarque.
Late bloomer Mr. Palmer is finding his stride
Some interesting insight on Mr. Palmer from NYRA notes:
After failing to distinguish himself in his first four starts, Michael Lauffer and Gregory McDonald’s Mr Palmer has improved vastly since joining Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s New York string and will enter the Wood Memorial on a two-race winning streak.
Soundly beaten in four starts in Kentucky, Mr Palmer finished second by three-quarters of a length in his New York debut, a maiden special weight on Aqueduct’s inner track on December 15. He made an early move along the backstretch when he broke his maiden by a neck on February 17 at the Big A, then employed an outside charge from the back of the pack to win Laurel Park’s Private Terms by 3 ½ lengths on March 9.
“I didn’t see him for two months, and he’s changed from when he first arrived from Churchill,” said Leana Willaford, assistant to Mott. “He’s mentally and physically matured a lot. He’s an attractive horse and a good mover, and as it turned out he’s going to be [a good horse]. He’s made a steady progression almost every start. Some horses just take a little longer.”
Junior Alvarado has ridden Mr Palmer in his past three starts and will have the assignment once again the Wood. Willaford said Alvarado’s patient riding style suits Mr Palmer well.
“Whatever the reasons are, [Mr Palmer] has a tendency to be a little flat-footed [at the start],” said Willaford. “Your best move is to let him get himself together and make a run like what Junior did with him last time. He ended up seven wide the other day, but he understands it takes a little to get the horse running. He has to get comfortable with himself, and he takes a little bit of riding. With those types you don’t want to be tapping on the breaks.”
Rebel winner back on track
Rebel winner Will Take Charge posted his first work since that race on Thursday at Oaklawn.
The D. Wayne Lukas trainee went four furlongs in :49.20.
Also on the worktab was another Lukas Derby hopeful, Oxbow, who worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:16.00.
Connections discuss Florida Derby contenders
Trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr., on Itsmyluckyday: “I’ve got a horse that could not be feeling any better. He’s just tearing down the barn. He’s a very, very happy horse. He’s been away from the races for a little while and hasn’t missed a day of training, hasn’t missed a work. How do I feel? If I’d have known it would have gone this smooth, I would have been so happy.”
“I don’t want any extenuating circumstances to come in the way of everybody’s best race. I just want everybody to have a fair shot. I’ve got a lot of confidence in my horse, as I’m sure as everybody else does, and I don’t want anything to come in the way of it.”
“I just want the best horse to win. I don’t want anybody to have to come out of that race – me, Todd, Shug or any of the others in the race – and say, ‘This happened to me; that happened to me. I just want everybody to have a fair shot at the race.”
Starlight Racing’s Jack Wolf on Shanghai Bobby: “I think from a numbers standpoint the Holy Bull was his best race. I think we got sort of the worst of the track and the pace scenario and got stuck in the one hole. Having said that, I give credit to the horse that beat us, Itsmyluckyday. He certainly has shown in his last two races that he’s the horse to beat as far as I’m concerned. We were pleased with how Shanghai Bobby ran and how he’s been training.”
““There’s not much we can do at this point, the trainer’s got the horse ready and the horse is going to do his own speaking. It’s exciting for me and our partners to compete at these levels, so hopefully he shows up and has a good race. The main thing is to get here and hopefully be lucky enough to have a good trip and win the race.”
“He’s never been much of a work horse in the morning, but he’s shown up in every one of his races, even though he lost his last race. He’s progressed along; Todd likes the fitness level that he’s got him to at this point. He’s carrying good flesh, his coat looks good, his energy level is good and we’re pretty excited.”
Agustin Bezara on Narvaez: (Comparing to Bezara’s Reveron) “They’re different types of horses, but they both have a lot of class,” Bezara said through interpreter Isaac Jiminez. “Reveron was more of a stalker and this horse is more of a come-from-behind horse.”
“From the beginning I knew he was a good horse, but he’s had some ups and downs. In his last race, he sent me a message and told me he was ready to run.”
“This will be the first time at the distance, but he’s well-bred to go the distance. He’s out of a daughter of Unbridled. He should handle it.”