- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
|1||The Lumber Guy||$6.50||$4.10||$2.50|
- 4 - Dan And Sheila
- 6 - Adirondack King
- 7 - Term Loan
- Right To Vote
|Wager Type||Winning Numbers||Paid|
Barry K. Schwartz's The Lumber Guy suffered his first loss on April 7 when stretching out to 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, but returned Saturday off the two-week break and cut back to eight furlongs at the Big A to capture the Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths over a tenacious Brigand.
Trained by Mike Hushion and ridden by Mike Luzzi, The Lumber Guy was sent off the 2-1 second choice to return $6.50, $4.10 and $2.50 for his first graded score. The gray colt finished fifth in the Wood Memorial but earned his first black-type win in his initial try in the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park back in February.
"Usually I get cold feet as it gets closer to the race, but I really didn't with him," Hushion said. "Every morning I came in, his hay rack was empty and he's standing in front of the stall, bright. When you have a big, strong horse with a lot of talent I think they can make you do a lot of things, and you still look like you know what you are doing.
"His gallop out looked good to me -- from what I saw quickly -- so I don't know about distance limitations. 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. Mike did a nice job nursing his speed. Really good job."
On Saturday, the sophomore son of Grand Slam went after Brigand when that one headed to the front out of the gate. The Lumber Guy inched clear on the inside to have a half-length to spare on his rival through the swift opening quarter in :22 4/5. The colt continued to lead down the backstretch with Brigand keeping in close attendance through splits of :45 4/5 and 1:10, while Term Loan moved up nearing the turn to attempt a challenge on the outside.
Brigand swung wide entering the lane but still put in his bid to run down the pacesetter but The Lumber Guy would not let his rival by. The Flatter colt eventually fell back as The Lumber Guy continued his momentum all the way to the wire, completing the fast-track, one-turn mile in 1:36.
"That was cool," Luzzi stated. "Not knowing the horse and just going by what Michael had said, he's real fast.
"I didn't want to warm him up too much to where he was too speedy. He left clean, he was in my hands. 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."
The Jerome finishing order followed the saddlecloth numbers as Brigand was second, three lengths in front of Stirred Up. Dan and Shelia followed in fourth, with Adirondack King and Term Loan bringing up the rear. The only disruption in the 1-2-3-4-6-7 finishing order was Right to Vote, who scratched after drawing the 5 post.
The Lumber Guy scored his biggest win to date in the Jerome and more than doubled his earnings to $225,000 to go along with his 4-3-0-0 career line. After breaking his maiden debut at Laurel by 9 1/4 lengths on January 28, the gray posted a 4 1/4-length triumph in the Miracle Wood. His loss in the Wood Memorial is the only blemish on his record.
Bred in New York by Stonewall Farm, The Lumber Guy is out of the unraced Unbridled's Song mare Boltono, making him a half-brother to stakes winners Magical Solution and Bold Deed. Boltono is herself a daughter of multiple Grade 3-placed stakes queen Buckaroo Zoo.
The Lumber Guy's fourth dam is the multiple stakes-scoring Big Spruce mare Joy Returned, who is most noted for producing multiple Grade 3-winning sire Stalwars, Group 2-placed multiple stakes victor Joy of Glory and the dam of Group 3 star Tough Speed.