Jerkens 'More Apt' To Aim Gotham Winner Weyburn At Belmont Than Kentucky Derby - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Jerkens ‘More Apt’ To Aim Gotham Winner Weyburn At Belmont Than Kentucky Derby

Gotham Stakes winner Weyburn

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens gave Grade 3 Gotham winner Weyburn a stiff three-eighths blowout on Wednesday morning over the Belmont Park training track in preparation for his nine-furlong debut in Saturday's Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino.

After two easy works following the Gotham, Chiefswood Stables' son of Pioneerof the Nile covered the three furlongs in :36.20 – the second fastest of 18 recorded works at the distance. Weyburn worked six-furlongs 1:16.60 five days earlier.

“If I'm running a horse that's going further than they ever have, I like to give them a little something close to the race just to open up their lungs a bit,” Jerkens said. “It was pretty close to his work before that, but he didn't go all that fast that day, so I didn't think it was a big deal with the five days, plus we had a lot of rain the next day.”

In upsetting the Gotham at 46-1 odds, Weyburn displayed tactical speed and fought gamely along the rail to get a nose to the better of fellow Wood Memorial aspirant Crowded Trade. He also earned 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, currently standing 10th on the leaderboard.

Despite qualifying for the “Run for the Roses,” Jerkens said he might be more inclined to train Weyburn up to the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 5. His best finish in the 12-furlong “Test of a Champion” was Thomas Jo, who finished third behind a thrilling stretch run in 1998 where Victory Gallop infamously spoiled the Triple Crown bid of Real Quiet.

“We kind of have that in the back of our head that we'd more apt to aim for something like that than the Derby,” Jerkens said. “He's a horse that takes some time to get used to new places. He's high maintenance in that regard. We'd like to stretch the year out a little more.”

Jerkens seeks a second Wood Memorial triumph, having saddled Centennial Farms' Wicked Strong to victory in the 2014 edition.

Centennial Farms, graded stakes-winner Rocketry has been back to the work tab since getting some winter rest at the outfits Middleburg, Virginia facility. The veteran son of Hard Spun is possible for the $100,000 Flat Out on April 30 at Belmont Park.

After going three furlongs in 38.21 on March 21, he went an easy half-mile in 50.09 seconds.

“We'll try to make the Flat Out,” Jerkens said. “We were debating on whether to keep him here all winter because he always does well when he's with the rest of us. Sometimes when he gets turned out, he can get a little bored and then he comes back, and it takes a while to get into the rhythm of things.”

Rocketry, a three-time stakes winner, was last seen ending a nine-race slump when coming from ten lengths off the pace to win the 1 5/8-mile Grade 2 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance on November 6 at Keeneland.

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