When I saw the name The Lumber Guy on the entries for Laurel Park’s Miracle Wood Stakes, I could not help but smile. The connection of the name to the race notwithstanding, an even bigger smile came after the race.
The Lumber Guy was well received by a Maryland crowd after a huge debut performance in which the wood loving son of Grand Slam romped home in a statebred maiden race at Aqueduct by a seemingly effortless 9 ¼ length margin last month, in which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90 for the six furlongs in 1:10.20. It’s not often you seem that type of figure given out in a New York bred maiden race. Trained by Michael Hushion for owner and breeder Barry Schwartz, the gray colt was sent off as the 2-5 betting choice in yesterday’s $100,000 feature, and would take no time at all in displaying his superiority over the rest of the field.
Bobbling just a bit at the start, the big favorite quickly shot out to a commanding lead after a first quarter in :22 4/5. He was then asked to relax by rider Julian Pimentel, while the rest of the field inched closer heading into the far turn. From there, The Lumber Guy definitively responded to feeling another horse within breathing distance. Like a bullet, he was gone again, cruising to a very easy 4 ¼ length score. Final time for the seven panels was a sharp 1:23.22 over the fast track.
“He did that very easily. It was impressive,” remarked the winning rider after the race.
Impressive indeed, just as he had done in his debut score in New York. Good things were expected for The Lumber Guy from the beginning, and after just two starts it appears he may be primed to exceed those expectations. Out of the unraced Unbridled’s Song mare, Boltono, the undefeated three-year-old counts two older brothers as stakes winners, including the four-year-old, Bold Deed. Those stakes wins came against fellow New York breds, though, something that The Lumber Guy has already been able to better in only his second start.
Despite the abundance of early speed he has flashed in his first two starts; don’t stereotype this one as a sprinter just yet. Hushion, his experienced conditioner, has confidence that The Lumber Guy will be able to go longer without too much trouble. If he’s right, this becomes a colt that must be considered a contender for the Kentucky Derby. And let’s see, he’s based in New York, and would be looking for a race to test two-turns in his next start. Miracle Wood down … Wood Memorial next? Don't be surprised if it is Wood to Wood for this Lumber Guy.Photo courtesy of Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club