WinStar Farm's Gemologist took his first step on the road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) March 16 at Gulfstream Park, winning with devastating ease by seven lengths over Grade 1 winner Currency Swap (VIDEO
). Gemologist, a 3-year-old son of WinStar stallion Tiznow, is already proven over the Churchill Downs surface, with wins during the 2011 fall meet in an allowance race and the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club S.
At Gulfstream, Gemologist was allowed to set a relatively modest pace for the long run down the backstretch of the one mile event, with Currency Swap his closest pursuer, about length back. The leader picked up the pace around the turn, and Currency Swap tried to keep in striking distance, but once they hit the homestretch, Gemologist was much the best, pulling away with every stride as Javier Castellano sat motionless in the irons.
The winner stopped the timer in 1:35.95 on a fast main track, good for a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who conditioned 2010 Derby winner Super Saver for WinStar, was very pleased with the race.
“That worked out really well for a comeback, I thought he ran super,” Pletcher said immediately after the race. “To run a mile in 1:35 and 4 over this track is excellent and he galloped out extremely well. From a conditioning standpoint, I thought he got exactly what we were hoping for out of this race.”
Pletcher said the next start for Gemologist was yet to be decided, but it will be one of the major Derby preps.
“We’ll see how he comes out of the race and then Elliott (Walden, WinStar president) and I will sit down in a few days and discuss where he’ll go next,” said Pletcher. “You guys know all the options. It will be something, somewhere either on April 7 or April 14 (referring to races like the Blue Grass (G1) or Arkansas Derby (G1)).”
Gemologist is one of eight winners out of the unraced mare Crystal Shard. She is a full sister to multiple graded stakes winner Withallprobability.