THE LUMBER GUY (NYRA via The Paulick Report)

Trainer Bob Baffert had a remote chance to be the first trainer to enter two Virginia-breds in the Kentucky Derby or any Triple Crown race for that matter.  However, such a history-making event was predicated on a number of “ifs” — if Va-bred Bodemeister finds his way to the starting gate in Louisville the first Saturday in May and if Va-bred Stirred Up (Lazy Lane Farm) could win the Jerome and earn enough money to possibly qualify to enter the Derby as well.

While the first option remains on track, Stirred Up will have to seek another path to stardom after The Lumber Guy beat Brigand by 2 3/4 lengths Saturday in the $200,000 Jerome Stakes Gr.2 at Aqueduct.  The favored Stirred Up rallied late to get third. 

The Lumber Guy (Grand Slam-Boltono, by Unbridled’s Song) and Mike Luzzi broke alertly and was sent to the front where they were joined by Brigand. Those two set a swift pace on the front end as they opened up a four-length lead on the rest of the field. Term Loan tracked them in third, as the favorite, Virginia-bred Stirred Up, raced along in last early.
The Lumber Guy and Brigand continued to duel as they entered the far turn as the rest of the field began to cut into their lead. At the top of the stretch, Luzzi went to work aboard The Lumber Guy and the grey colt responded, eventually putting Brigand away in deep stretch and pulling away to win convincingly.

Stirred Up was literally a Derby longshot and was a more likely Preakness candidate, but it’s fun to speculate, and it’s nice to see two Virginia-breds contending on the road to the Triple Crown.