Brooklyn Strong preps for Wood with bullet work

Saturday, March 20th, 2021

Grade 2 winner Brooklyn Strong turned in bullet 5-furlong workout Saturday in preparation for the April 3 Wood Memorial. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

By Paul Halloran

New York-bred Brooklyn Strong took another step forward on what his connections hope is the road to the Kentucky Derby with a 5-furlong bullet workout Saturday morning at Parx Racing.

With Danny Velazquez’s assistant Maria Remedio up, Brooklyn Strong broke from the 5-furlong pole and went in :59.71, galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:13, according to Velazquez, who was very pleased with the work, which was the best of 16 at the distance Saturday.

“It’s the best work he’s had since the layoff,” said Velazquez, who was forced to give the gelding time off due to an illness he suffered after winning the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct Dec. 5. “I planned on giving him a three-quarters work next week, but after this I might just give him an easy half. We’ll see how he does the next 48 hours.”

Saturday’s was the fourth official work for Brooklyn Strong since returning to training after the layoff. Last week, he went 5 furlongs in 1:01.13.

“(Today) was quicker than I expected,” Velazquez said, “but he just clicked off every pole (3 furlongs in :35.86 and a half in :48.05). He’s hitting every point. I’m extremely happy.”

Velazquez plans to work Brooklyn Strong – a son of Wicked Strong out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Riviera Chic – next Saturday in preparation for a start in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 3. The Wood offers Derby qualifying points on a 100-40-20-10 scale. Brooklyn Strong picked up 10 points in the Remsen and, heading into Saturday’s Louisiana Derby, was in an 11-way tie for the 20th and final Derby berth. A win or second in the Wood would almost certainly land him in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.

“The only thing on my mind is the Wood,” said Velazquez, who watched Saturday’s work from trackside, one week after being seriously injured when a loose horse slammed into the pony he was sitting on, resulting in a lacerated liver, torn bicep, concussion and swollen chest. He was in an ambulance when his horse worked last weekend.

“I watched from the rail this week, a much safer place,” he said.

Brooklyn Strong was bred by Cheryl Prudhomme and her husband, Dr. Michael Gallivan, at Shamrock Hill Farm in Fort Edward. They sold him as a weanling for $30,000 and, after he was an RNA at two yearling sales in 2019, Mark Schwartz bought him for $5,000 at last year’s OBS Spring 2-year-olds in training sale.

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