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Social Inclusion, Samraat ready for Wood Memorial
Social Inclusion, who was credited with a four-furlong breeze in :49 1/5 on Saturday over Gulfstream Park's fast dirt, will work twice more in Florida before he ships to New York for the Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial on Saturday, April 5, owner Ronald Sanchez said via telephone on Sunday.
The Wood Memorial is New York's premier Triple Crown prep race and is worth 100 points to the winner in Churchill Downs' "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points system.
"It was an easy gallop, three furlongs in :36 flat and galloped out four furlongs in :49 and one," said Sanchez of Social Inclusion's Saturday workout. "It was a maintenance breeze, and he was spectacular and full of energy. The rider told me he didn't ask him to run."
Sanchez said Social Inclusion is scheduled to make his next breeze on Wednesday and then again on Saturday before he ships to New York on Sunday, either by van or by plane. He'll complete his training at Aqueduct after he arrives in New York.
"He'll have two more breezes," Sanchez explained. "The way (Manuel Azpurua) trains is totally different, but it works for us."
Social Inclusion is unbeaten and untested in two starts at Gulfstream, having broken his maiden by 7 1/2 lengths going six furlongs on February 22 and successfully stretching out to defeat Honor Code by 10 lengths in an allowance on March 12. His winning time of 1:40.97 in the allowance established a Gulfstream track record for 1 1/16 miles.
Originally, Social Inclusion's connections were planning on running in the Wood Memorial and then possibly competing in the Preakness, but now they have their sights set on the Kentucky Derby.
"We've changed our initial plan," Sanchez stated. "We think he'll like (Aqueduct's track) and get some points so we can go to the Derby."
Also working Saturday for the Wood Memorial was unbeaten multiple Grade 3 star Samraat, who breezed one mile in 1:45 on the fast dirt at Palm Meadows.
"It was just what we wanted," trainer Richard Violette Jr. said by telephone. "He'll have his next breeze on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, and then there's a plane to New York on Tuesday."
Samraat, who is unbeaten in five starts, went a mile in his final breezes prior to his wins in Aqueduct's Withers on February 1 and Gotham on March 1, both of which are Grade 3 contests.
"It works for him, and there's been no reason to change," Violette noted.
Samraat, a homebred owned by Leonard Riggio's My Meadowview Farm, narrowly defeated Uncle Sigh in his past two starts, beating his New York-bred rival by one length in the Withers and by a quarter-length in the Gotham.
Uncle Sigh is scheduled to breeze for the Wood on Tuesday, according to Gary Contessa's assistant trainer, Marcelo Arenas. The Indian Charlie colt broke his maiden at Aqueduct on December 27 by 14 1/2 lengths while going a mile-and-70-yards.
In other Wood Memorial news:
Tonalist, second in an entry-level optional claimer on February 22 at Gulfstream, remains under consideration for the Wood Memorial, trainer Christophe Clement said by telephone on Sunday.
"(The Wood is) one of the options," Clement stated. "We're keeping him eligible. He's a very nice horse, and he's never run a bad race."
Clement said Tonalist will breeze on Wednesday or Thursday at Payson Park before he and owner Robert Evans make their final decision on Tonalist's next start. Clement said the other options include the $250,000 Calder Derby, also on April 5, or an allowance race.
Later Sunday afternoon, the Clement stable tweeted that Tonalist was "currently on track for the Wood Memorial."
Tonalist was second by 3 1/4 lengths to Constitution, a gate-to-wire winner, in the February 22 optional claimer. In his two other starts, Tonalist was fourth in his November unveiling at Aqueduct before he broke his maiden by four lengths in January at Gulfstream.