Photo by Adam Coglianese/NYRA
By Ryan Martin
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The Elkstone Group’s Wudda U Think Now kept his local winning form afloat, responding well under pressure with a hard-fought gate-to-wire triumph in Sunday’s sixth running of the $100,000 Say Florida Sandy for New York-breds 4-years-old and upward going seven furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Rudy Rodriguez, the 6-year-old Fast Anna gelding turned back from a 3 1/4-length score going a one-turn mile in the Alex M. Robb here on December 17. The quick turnaround was no issue for the now four-time state-bred stakes winner, who secured six-furlong triumphs in last year’s Hollie Hughes at the Big A in February and the John Morrissey in August at Saratoga Race Course. Wudda U Think Now brags a record of 11-7-2-0 on the Ozone Park oval.
Wudda U Think Now broke on top from post 4 under Dylan Davis and showed his usual frontrunning tactics with the Kendrick Carmouche-piloted Market Alert a half-length back through an opening quarter mile in 22.96 seconds over the fast main track. Around the far turn, Market Alert matched strides with Wudda U Think Now as Davis began coaxing his charge through a half-mile in 45.58.
In upper stretch, Wudda U Think Now responded to Davis’ call and gained a clearer lead, but Market Alert was prepared for a fight as Bankit launched his late rally in third. Both Market Alert and Bankit made up ground in the last sixteenth of a mile, but Wudda U Think Now proved superior with a three-quarter length victory in a final time in 1:24.23.
Market Alert finished second by a head over Bankit, the 2021 New York-bred Champion Older Dirt Male. My Boy Tate, the 2021 New York-bred Champion Male Sprinter, and Reggae Music Man completed the order of finish.
Davis, who also piloted Wudda U Think Now to his Alex M. Robb score, earned his second stakes win of the weekend after guiding Lugan Knight to victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Jerome.
“I was really trying to manage what I could get away with. Kendrick was pressing me and he kept the pace honest for me. Because he shortened back up from the mile, I knew he handled the distance and I could ride him a little earlier,” Davis said. “I really got into him once we got to the turn. He just kept finding more and more. I was able to put away Kendrick, but I was worried about the two closers – Bankit and My Boy Tate – and was really hoping he would find some more. I switched the stick to the left hand to keep him honest and I knew that I would have more down the stretch coming back from a mile.”
Davis said Wudda U Think Now can be a tricky horse to ride.
“He’s a really big horse and he travels well. He’s really aggressive in the mornings and the same in the races,” Davis said. “He’s a little easier to manage during the races than in his breezes when he’s a little tougher. What I’ve noticed is that he’s a hard-trying horse that will give you everything he’s got, but you’ve got to know how to ride him because he doesn’t have a big turn of foot and he’s just a real steady grinder. Because of that, I rode him a little earlier.”
Stakes-winner Market Alert’s trainer Rob Atras, who saddled Law Professor to victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Queens County, said getting involved early from his outside post went according to plan.
“Kendrick and I were on the same page that we could put him right into the race and try to be right there,” Atras said. “He broke really sharp from the outside post and Kendrick was real aggressive with him and kept him close. He is a quirky horse to be around in the mornings and in the afternoons. I was really happy because he showed some speed and reached the wire holding off the horse on the outside [Bankit]. I was very impressed, and I thought it was a great effort.”
Banking $55,000 in victory, Wudda U Think Now boosted his lifetime earnings to $558,750 and overall record to 20-9-4-2. He returned $5.80 for a $2 win bet as the post time second choice.
Bred in the Empire State by Mina Equivest, Wudda U Think Now is out of the dual stakes-placed Unbridled Jet mare Unbridled Grace. He was purchased for $60,000 out of the 2018 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by Summerfield.
Live racing returns on Thursday at the Big A with an eight-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.