Wudda U Think Now prevails in $125K John Morrissey
by Keith McCalmont
The Elkstone Group’s Wudda U Think Now found another gear down the lane to reel in Saint Selby and capture Friday’s $125,000 John Morrissey Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for New York-breds 3-years-old and up, at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Rudy Rodriguez and piloted by Trevor McCarthy, the 5-year-old Fast Anna gelding avenged an off-the-board effort as the favorite in last year’s edition with an impressive stretch run, re-rallying inside the final eighth to post a 1 1/2-length score over a fast-closing Reggae Music Man.
Saint Selby, a winner of 4-of-6 previous starts, marked off splits of 22.51 seconds and 45.72 over the fast main track with Wudda U Think Now tracking in second position in front of the even-money favorite Ny Traffic.
The slow-starting Reggae Music Man rallied into contention through the turn as Saint Selby appeared to put away the pressing Wudda U Think Now. But McCarthy kept to task aboard Wudda U Think Now, who kicked into gear to out finish the rail rush of My Boy Tate and reel in Saint Selby to stop the clock in a final time of 1:11.65. Reggae Music Man arrived in time to complete the exacta by a head over Saint Selby with Ny Traffic and My Boy Tate completing the order of finish. Listentoyourheart was scratched.
Wudda U Think Now has won 3-of-4 starts this campaign, including a score in the Hollie Hughes against fellow state-breds in February at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Rodriguez said a healthy Wudda U Think Now was more important than the addition of blinkers for today’s test.
“I know he’s been breaking a little slow, but I think he was breaking slow because he was dealing with a quarter crack for almost four months right after the stake [Hollie Hughes],” Rodriguez said. “I couldn’t get him right – I patched him, took the patch off – all the credit goes to Stuart Grant. He’s very patient. Owners that are patient like that make our life easy.”
The victory also ended an 0-for-44 stretch at the Spa summer meet for Rodriguez.
“It’s amazing. I’m going to sleep good,” said Rodriguez, with a laugh.
McCarthy said a prominent early position benefitted Wudda U Think Now.
"He doesn't have to be on the lead. Just the times he has been on the lead he's had super slow, comfortable fractions,” McCarthy said. “Today, we got a great setup and Rudy had him 100 percent today.”
Bred in the Empire State by Mina Equivest, Wudda U Think Now banked $68,750 in victory, while improving his record to 16-7-4-1. He returned $15.40 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Saturday at Saratoga with an 11-race card featuring the Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special in Race 4 and the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave in Race 10. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
Saratoga Live will present daily coverage and analysis of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
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