The Lumber Guy improved his record to 3-for-4
with a front-running victory in the 142nd edition of the Grade 2,
$200,000 Jerome on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
Wheeled back on 14 days rest off a fifth in Aqueduct’s Grade 1 Resorts
World Casino New York City Wood Memorial, The Lumber Guy claimed a narrow lead
after exiting the chute and posted fractions of 22.98 and 45.83 while receiving
pressure from Brigand. The two drew on even terms at the head of the stretch
before The Lumber Guy shrugged off Brigand’s challenge and drove clear
under Mike Luzzi’s drive, defeating his rival by 2 ¾ lengths.
“He left clean, he was in my hands,” said Luzzi. “It
felt slower than it was, honestly. It wasn’t out-of-control speed.
He’s just a talented horse. I know the fractions might have said
differently, but to me it felt like we went slower and it felt like I still had
a lot left [in the stretch]. He galloped out good, too.”
Off as the 2-1 second choice, The Lumber Guy returned $6.50 to his
backers in the crowd of 5,794 and completed one mile in 1:36.04.
The Lumber Guy, who had previously won Laurel Park’s Miracle Wood
in February, is unbeaten at distances ranging from six furlongs to one mile,
with his Wood Memorial defeat coming at 1 1/8 miles.
Trainer Michael Hushion remains steadfast in his desire to give The
Lumber Guy additional opportunities to compete over a route of ground.
“His gallop out looked good to me – from what I saw quickly
– so I don’t know about distance limitations,” said Hushion.
“I guess that 36 flat (1:36.04) is going to come up a nice time. Getting
to the two-turn thing is a bridge we’re going to have to cross sometime
pretty soon. Today, he showed what we were hoping he would show. When he got
his head, in front his stride just opened up. His stride looked awfully good
down the backside. He’s a nice, big mover.”
The Lumber Guy is owned by Barry Schwartz, who bred the son of Grand
Slam in New York.
He has earned $225,000 to date, including $120,000 for his Jerome victory.
Stirred Up was third, followed home by Dan and Sheila, Adirondack King,
and Term Loan. Right to Vote was scratched.