Unbeaten but untested, Gemologist is ready for his Kentucky Derby audition in New York.
The 3-year-old colt is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in a field of eight for Saturday's $1 million Wood Memorial.
Gemologist has yet to compete against some of the top Derby hopefuls, and his only start this year was a 7-length victory in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park.
"He could finish third and that's going to put him on the bubble of graded earnings," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "It's important for him to run first or second and give us a good effort."
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Gemologist, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano, ranks 30th on the Derby list of graded stakes earnings with $103,855.
Withers Stakes winner Alpha is the 5-2 second choice. The son of Bernardini is 2-for-2 at the Big A for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, but he was held out of last month's Gotham and continued training in Florida.
"We couldn't be happier with him, he's such a professional," McLaughlin assistant Art Magnuson said.
■ Creative Cause, winner of four of seven starts, can solidify his status as the West's leading Derby candidate when he runs as the 6-5 favorite in the Santa Anita Derby.
Bob Baffert, just back from Dubai where he suffered a heart attack, will send three horses to post, including 8-1 shot Liaison.
I'll Have Another is the 5-2 second choice.
■ Nine entrants in a record Illinois Derby field of 14 won their last time out, including Pletcher's Our Entourage and maiden winner Morgan's Guerilla, who will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik.
Morning-line favorite Currency Swap finished second to Gemologist on March 16.