Monday, April 11, 2016

Shadwell Farm's Shagaf suffers first loss in Wood Memorial, but still points to Derby with Mohaymen

By Stepper Toth
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Shadwell Farm’s Shagaf went into Saturday’s Wood Memorial as the 9-5 favorite, but finished fifth. He significantly dropped in observers’ ratings for the Kentucky Derby, but is still heading for the Derby, along with his stablemate, the more highly rated Mohaymen.

The Wood Memorial was a mile-and-an-eighth, $1 million race at the Aqueduct Racetrack in New York. It was Shagaf’s first loss in four races.

Shagaf is now 18th in The Courier-Journal’s Derby HQ Poll. Last week he was seventh.  Mohaymen, is ranked sixth, down from fifth last week.

Jon White of Santa Anita Park, the only panelist who had Shagaf as No. 1 in the poll, now does not even have him in his top 20. “Yes, Shagaf was blocked momentarily on the far turn in the Wood,” White wrote. “Shagaf did rally to loom a threat at the top of the stretch, but he did not have the necessary kick in the stretch. Shagaf finished fifth in a slow edition of the Wood.”

The track was rated muddy, which Shagaf was not used to. Shagaf broke slowly out of the gate, but came within four lengths of the lead at the far turn. As the horses turned for home, he bumped into Tale of S’avall and started to fall back.

The winner of the Wood was Outwork. Following were Trojan Nation, Adventist, and Matt King Coal. Shagaf finished four lengths behind Outwork.

Due to getting 50 Derby qualifying points by winning the Gotham Stakes last month, Shagaf still headed to the Derby, though his trainer, Chad Brown, suggested that another muddy track might thwart that.

Brown told reporters at Aqueduct, “He made a sharp middle move there and then he just had enough of the mud. We'll just see how the horse comes out of the race and go from here. If the horse is healthy I'm inclined to hope for a dry track at Churchill and a better trip. I'm confident the horse can get a mile and a quarter."

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