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The Lumber Guy Set to Make Comeback Friday

With Grade 1 winner The Lumber Guy set to make his comeback in the restricted Chowder's First Stakes on Friday, trainer Michael Hushion admits he has mixed emotions.


"I'm nervous first, excited second," said Hushion, who conditions the homebred for Barry Schwartz.


The 6 ½-furlong race is for New York-breds 3-years-old and up who haven't won a stakes in 2013.


Last fall, The Lumber Guy won the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont Park and was second by three-quarters of a length in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. Following the Breeders' Cup, Schwartz left The Lumber Guy in California with Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, but the colt finished a non-threatening seventh in both the Grade 1 Malibu and Grade 2 San Carlos at Santa Anita.


The Lumber Guy was given time off following his pair of starts for Drysdale, returned to Hushion's barn in the spring, and has been on the worktab since July. Hushion said he was impressed with The Lumber Guy's physical development.


"There are a lot of positive vibes from him," said Hushion. "They did a good job bulking him up on the farm. He came here looking tremendous. I had been to the farm [about a week before he arrived at the track], and my jaw dropped. It looked like a stallion show."


Hushion said he planned to originally run B Shanny in the Chowder's First, but re-routed him to Leon Reed Memorial Handicap on August 17 at Finger Lakes so he wouldn't have to face The Lumber Guy. B Shanny won the Leon Reed by 4 ¼ lengths.


"You think you're going over there [to Finger Lakes] and [are going to win], but that doesn't always work," said Hushion. "Things unfolded like we wanted them to. The perfect race for him was going to be the [Chowder's First] for horses who have not won a sweepstakes, but we had to go to Plan B with B Shanny."


Hushion said Amberjack emerged from his runner-up performance behind Escapefromreality in Thursday's Albany Stakes in good shape. Had Amberjack had won the Albany, he would have swept the "Big Apple Triple" series and earned a $250,000 bonus.


"I have no complaints about what happened in the race," said Hushion. "[Jockey Junior] Alvarado did what he had to do. He didn't get in a speed duel and he made it a two-horse race at the top of the lane. It was smart riding. Unfortunately, we lost a two-horse race."




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