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OZONE PARK, NY – Trainer Daniel Velazquez wanted to point Brooklyn Strong to last weekend’s Gotham (G3) at the Big A, but after a minor illness and lack of works due to inclement weather at his Parx Racing base, the New York-bred colt is on target for the Wood Memorial Presented by Resorts World Casino (G2) on April 3 at Aqueduct.
Last Saturday, Brooklyn Strong posted his third breeze since February 26, covering 5/8 of a mile in 1:01.13 on Saturday at Parx.
Velazquez was not on hand for the breeze after incurring a lacerated liver and torn bicep earlier Saturday morning in a training accident at the Bensalem, Pennsylvania oval.
“He went by himself from the pole. Hopefully, we can hit one work a week up to the Wood,” Velazquez said of Brooklyn Strong’s breeze.
Owned by Mark Schwartz, the Wicked Strong bay is out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Riviera Chic. Bred in the Empire State by Cheryl Prudhomme and Dr. Michael Gallivan, Brooklyn Strong was purchased for $5,000 at the OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
A winner at first asking in a 1-mile maiden claimer in September at Delaware Park, Brooklyn Strong made his next 2 starts against state-breds at Belmont Park, finishing third in the 7-furlong Bertram F. Bongard before capturing the one-turn mile Sleepy Hollow.
Brooklyn Strong stretched out to 9 furlongs on December 5 in the Remsen (G2) at the Big A and bested Ten for Ten by a neck to garner 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. A good result in the Wood, which offers 100-40-20-10 qualifying points, would put Brooklyn Strong in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May.
“We know he can get the 9 furlongs, I just want to make sure that he’s ready,” said Velazquez. “We have another three weeks before the Wood, and if we can get all the works in without interruption, I know we’ll be ready.”
Velazquez said he does not have a rider lined up yet for the Wood. Joel Rosario was in the irons for the Remsen score, while Jose Ortiz had the call in the Sleepy Hollow.
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