Stakes Recap
Aug 12, 2022
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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.

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Saratoga Race Course, and the best way to bet every race of the summer meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.


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