One-Horse Stable Bringing Longshot Market Maven To Wood Memorial
Market Maven will provide Aqueduct’s Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino some intrigue as the Pennsylvania homebred will make his first stakes appearance after making his first four career starts at his home base at Parx.
The Super Ninety Nine gelding is the only horse currently in training for owner [and breeder] Gregory Gordon, who has compiled 10 wins, four runner-up efforts and three third-place finishes with 23 starters since sending out his first starter in 2013.
Market Maven has improved his career speed figures in every race, beginning with a 39 Beyer in a sixth-place debut effort in November to a 48 in a runner-up effort on December 22. Making his sophomore debut, Market Maven registered a maiden-breaking one-length score that garnered a 74 number and followed with an 81 for his four-length score against optional claimers going a mile and 70 yards last out on February 23 over a sloppy and sealed track.
Trainer Penny Pearce, who will saddle her first career graded stakes starter, said Market Maven has been training forwardly since, prompting the connections to be ambitious in nominating to Aqueduct’s signature race with 100-40-20-10 qualifying points to the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby available to the top-four finishers.
“Every time we take him out there, he gets a bit better every time,” Pearce said. “We really don’t know what we have yet. You can’t win it if you ain’t in it. We’re all pretty excited. I don’t think anyone is more excited than Gregory; he bred and raised him and he’s the only one he has in training. When he came to me about this race, I was a little [surprised]. But we started talking about it and we said, ‘why not?’ He’s a nice horse and has talent.”
The Wood Memorial, which has seen 11 of its winners go on to the win the “Run for the Roses,” will also be an opportunity for jockey Dexter Haddock to compete in a prestigious stake. Haddock, primarily based on the Parx circuit, has been aboard for all four of Market Maven’s previous starts, developing a strong rapport that Pearce said she wanted to maintain.
“He’s the only jock that’s been on him since I got him; Dexter’s done all the work with him,” Pearce said. “That gives me a little more confidence because he knows him better than anyone.”
Market Maven has won as the front-runner in his last two starts, though Pearce said he has the skill-set to be versatile.
“I think if he could get up close to the lead or get the lead, [ it would be his preferred trip] he could run it like his last race. But he can come from a little out of it, too, so never know. It all looks good on paper but you go out there and everything changes when you come out of the gate.
“He’s good-natured and quiet, so I think he’ll be all right,” she added.
Pearce has a ledger of 102-112-123 in 883 career starts since going out on her own in 2012. She said running in a historic New York stakes will be a special event for her family-run operation and a nice reward for both Gordon and Haddock as well.
“Greg just told me let’s go have fun and there’s no pressure and no stress,” said Pearce. “He said, ‘let’s go have a day of fun.’ This day will be exciting for everyone but especially for him; I’ll be happy to see him do good and Dexter. We’re a family-run barn here, so we’re a team. I have my husband and my children working here and my nephew and his wife are stabled with us. It’s a seven-day a week job and we all work hard and these kind of horses don’t come around every day.”
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This entry was posted in Triple Crown and tagged aqueduct, dexter haddock, gregory gordon, market maven, Parx Racing, penny pearce, super ninety nine, wood memorial by NYRA Press Office. Bookmark the permalink.