Want Revenge wins the Wood Memorial! Next start:
missing the break, then being caught in traffic at the top of the
lane, I Want Revenge split horses in mid-stretch and went on to win
the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) in remarkable fashion April
4 at Aqueduct.
In what can only be described as an amazing performance, I Want Revenge
was forced to make up significant ground after breaking in the air as
the gates opened. The bad break caused the son of Stephen Got Even to
be last in a field of eight 3-year-olds through the backstretch. Jockey
Joe Talamo eventually steered I Want Revenge into striking position as
the field rounded the far turn and when the colt hit the eighth-pole,
he was only a couple lengths back of the leader, Just a Coincidence.
The only problem for I Want Revenge was that he was behind a wall of five
horses when swinging five-wide into the stretch. But Talamo managed to
guide his mount through traffic and after splitting Just a Coincidence
and West Side Bernie in mid-stretch, it was clear sailing to the wire.
The final time for 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track was 1:49.49. The margin
of victory over runner-up West Side Bernie was 1 1/2 lengths.
(When he missed the break) I was already heading back to the barn at that
point,” said trainer Jeff Mullins. “But Joe was patient and
it says a lot for a young rider. He saved his horse and waited for the
right time to let him go.
He get bottled up behind horses – when you have the rail you’re
worried about that anyway – but when you miss the break it makes
it that much tougher for him to overcome. What he did today is pretty
special. He had every trouble you could have in a race and still overcame
it. It tells me he’s a pretty nice horse. That’s as good as
it gets right there; we’ve got one more show to go to and if he
can win that one, he’s a pretty special animal. The plan try is
to try and ship to Churchill Downs Monday (April 6).”
With his sensational victory, I Want Revenge will head into the May 2
Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as one of the favorites.
The dark bay colt is owned by IEAH Stables and David Lanzman, who also
bred the Triple Crown nominee in Kentucky.
I Want Revenge, an 8 1/2-length winner of the Gotham (gr. III) in his
previous start, is now 3-1-4 from eight lifetime starts and has earned
$816,000. He is out of the Roy mare Meguial.
Just a Coincidence finished third in the Wood, 1 1/4 lengths back of West
Side Bernie. Atomic Rain, who ran as a coupled entry with West Side Bernie
for George and Lori Hall, finished fourth.
Imperial Council, the Gotham runner-up and the second betting choice in
the Wood, had a perfect stalking trip in back of pacesetter Lord Justice
and took a brief lead in upper stretch before finishing fifth under Edgar
Lord Justice set a moderate pace, posting fractions of :24.50, :48.13,
and 1:12.32 for six furlongs. Imperial Council, Atomic Rain, and Just
a Coincidence all stalked the pace and were in contention for the win
in the final furlong before I Want Revenge’s heroic finish.
At the break, he kind of reared up a little bit, but he actually had a
great trip,” Talamo said. “He was on the rail the whole way
and got to save ground. Right down the stretch, I found an opening and
he kicked down like a real nice horse.
You can’t panic. You just have to go with Plan B. At the half-mile
pole, he was moving so good it was just a matter of if he could get out.
He was just cruising at the quarter pole and was covered up, then when
I found a seam, I asked him and he just kicked it home.
I thought today was a fairly easy race for him," Talamo continued. "To
be honest, he only ran the last eighth of a mile, so I don’t think
it took too much out of him. He just keeps getting better and better.
That was the first time he got real dirt in his face and he took it like
he’s had it before 100 times. He’s such a smart animal, and
he’s real mature for his age.”