Wudda U Think Now much the best in the Alex M. Robb (Joe Labozzetta)
By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— The Elkstone Group’s Wudda U Think Now returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since August for trainer Rudy Rodriguez in Saturday’s $100,000 Alex M. Robb, a one-mile main track test for New York-breds 3-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Wudda U Think Now, a 5-year-old son of Fast Anna, notched his first victory since the state-bred John Morrissey at Saratoga Race Course where he stalked and pounced to a 1 1/2-length score sprinting six furlongs. He followed with a third-place finish in the Lite the Fuse in September at Pimlico Race Course and a fourth-place effort last out in the state-bred Hudson on October 30 at Belmont at the Big A. The Alex M. Robb was the bay gelding’s first try beyond the sprint distance since an optional claiming victory last March going a one-turn mile at the Big A.
“We were a little concerned about the distance, but he went a mile at Aqueduct,” said Rodriguez. “He loves Aqueduct and he loves the winter. As soon as the winter gets to him, he gets stronger in the mornings. He’s a nice horse to be around.”
Piloted by Dylan Davis for the first time Saturday, Wudda U Think Now broke alertly from post 6 and settled to the inside of pacesetting post-time favorite Dr. Blute, who led the field of seven through an opening quarter-mile in 22.96 seconds over the muddy and sealed main track.
The Kendrick Carmouche-piloted Sea Foam, winner of this event last year, kept close to the pace in third as Wudda U Think Now began to inch closer and threatened Dr. Blute approaching the turn. Wudda U Think Now took the advantage after a half-mile in a sharp 45.72 and was set down for the drive to the finish on the inside path as Dr. Blute retreated and Sea Foam made his bid down the center of the course. Wudda U Think Now, despite drifting out under left-handed encouragement from Davis, extended his margin down the stretch to coast home 3 1/4 lengths in front in a final time of 1:39.33 over a game Sea Foam.
Perfect Munnings, who saved ground in fifth throughout, rallied up the rail under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano to claim show honors 2 3/4 lengths behind Sea Foam with Market Alert, Dr. Blute, Barese and Somelikeithotbrown completing the order of finish. Three Jokers was scratched.
Davis said Wudda U Think Now felt like a winner each step of the way.
“We were coming out running today and going pretty quick with Dr. Blute on my outside, but he’s really happy with being up front and being in control. Once we got into the turn, he gave me a second wind and he started getting in control and getting a good rhythm,” Davis said. “After that, speed helped carry me through the wire with the sealed track because going too quick might have been too hard for him, but he ran great.”
Rodriguez, who won his second Alex M. Robb after saddling Control Group to victory in 2018, said Wudda U Think Now’s heart allows him to find more when pressured by a foe.
“I knew when he [Davis] asked him, he was going to give a little extra. Especially, when he gets to the stretch, he gives you an extra little bit,” said Rodriguez. “Even when you think he can get beat, he gives you that little extra. He’s just a fighter. His record speaks for itself and we’re lucky to have him in the barn.”
Davis, who won his second stake on the card after guiding Venti Valentine to victory in the $100,000 Bay Shore, said he appreciates the opportunity to ride horses like Wudda U Think Now.
“I’m always happy with one [stakes win], and if I can get a second one for the day, it’s always a bonus,” said Davis. “I’ve been working this horse a couple times and I’ve been very impressed with him. He’s aggressive, strong, and I’m happy I got on him because he’s a horse where if you fight him too much, he’s going to get aggressive with you.”
The Alex M. Robb was the third stakes victory for Wudda U Think Now, who adds to his aforementioned John Morrissey score and a breakout win in the six-furlong Hollie Hughes in February by 4 1/4 lengths. Bred in the Empire State by Mina Equivest, Wudda U Think Now banked $55,000 in victory and improved his record to 19-8-4-2. Returning $21.60 for a $2 win ticket, Wudda U Think Now boosted his total purse earnings past the half-million mark to $503,750.
Carmouche said the Michelle Giangiulio-trained Sea Foam, who has been runner-up in two stakes this year, gave his best effort despite a less-than-ideal setup.
“We knew the pace would be swift, but the horse ran well. He at least got up for second,” Carmouche said. “Sitting is not his best way of running, but that’s the only way I thought I could have won the race.”
Live racing resumes on Sunday at the Big A with a 10-race card. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of the Aqueduct fall meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the best way to bet every race of the Aqueduct Racetrack fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.