Wudda U Think Now fends off foes in Say Florida Sandy

Sunday, January 8th, 2023

Wudda U Think Now and Dylan Davis team for second straight stakes victory in Sunday’s Say Florida Sandy at Aqueduct. NYRA Photo.

Rudy Rodriguez came into Sunday’s $97,000 Say Florida Sandy at Aqueduct knowing Wudda U Think Now would face a tall order against the likes of New York-bred champions Bankit and My Boy Tate. He also came into the 7-furlong stakes knowing the 5-year-old Fast Anna gelding had run his best races at the Big A.

Wudda U Think Now improved on that record in the stakes named for the two-time New York-bred Horse of the Year and multiple divisional champion, fending off Market Alert and Bankit for his second straight victory. Dylan Davis rode the gelding for Rodriguez and owner Stuart Grant’s The Elkstone Group.

“He’s a really big horse and he travels well,” Davis said. “He’s really aggressive in the mornings and the same in the races. He’s a little easier to manage during the races than in his breezes when he’s a little tougher.

“What I’ve noticed is that he’s a hard-trying horse that will give you everything he’s got, but you’ve got to know how to ride him because he doesn’t have a big turn of foot and he’s just a real steady grinder.”

Wudda U Think Now, sent off as the 9-5 second choice in the field of five off his win in the Dec. 17 Alex M. Robb, improved to 7-for-11 at Aqueduct with the grind-it-out style.

The grind was far from slow, however.

Wudda U Think Now and Davis set a strong pace from the start, leading an attentive Market Alert by a half-length on his outside to the opening quarter-mile in :22.96 with Bankit and My Boy Tate tracking side-by-side up the backstretch.

Market Alert inched within a head to the half in :45.58, and the two separated from the other three around the far turn. Bankit, the 6-5 favorite coming off a victory in the Thunder Rumble division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes in early December, made a run just before the straight but couldn’t match the top two.

Wudda U Think Now cut the corner and opened up in the lane, extending his advantage to a half-length in midstretch and past 6 furlongs in 1:10.50. Bankit continued to gain on the outside from there, and rallied with Market Alert in deep stretch before running out of racetrack.

“I was really trying to manage what I could get away with,” Davis said. “Kendrick [Carmouche, aboard Market Alert] was pressing me and he kept the pace honest for me. Because he shortened back up from the mile, I knew he handled the distance and I could ride him a little earlier. I really got into him once we got to the turn. He just kept finding more and more.”

Wudda U Think Now won in 1:24.23 for his ninth win in 20 starts, to go with four seconds and two thirds, and picked up $55,000 to pad his bankroll to $558,750. Market Alert held second, beaten three-quarters of a length and a head in front of Bankit. My Boy Tate and Reggae Music Man completed the field.

Bred by Mina Equivest LLC and foaled at Five Oak Farm in Saratoga, Wudda U Think Now is out of the stakes-placed Unbridled Jet mare Unbridled Grace.

Grant purchased Wudda U Think Now for $60,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. He’s one of five winners from five foals to race out of Unbridled Grace. In addition to Wudda U Think Now, Unbridled Grace is the dam of New York-bred stakes performers James Jingle and C d’Cat. She is also the dam of the New York-bred Yes It’s True gelding Dean Verdile, who won 12 of 69 starts with 16 placings and earned $239,160.

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