03/02/2012 4:16PM

Aqueduct: Lightly raced The Lumber Guy takes aim at Wood

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
The Lumber Guy will try to stretch out from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles for the $1 million Wood Memorial.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The last time Barry Schwartz remembers running a horse in the Wood Memorial was in 1980 when Degenerate Jon finished fourth, one position behind Genuine Risk.

Two weeks later, Genuine Risk would win the Kentucky Derby while Schwartz’s Degenerate Jon finished eighth.

Schwartz hopes to make it back to the Wood – and perhaps the Derby – this year with the lightly raced The Lumber Guy, who coming off a victory in the seven-furlong Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel on Feb. 25 is being pointed to the $1 million Wood at Aqueduct on April 7.

The Wood would be just the third career start for The Lumber Guy, a New York-bred son of Grand Slam bred by Schwartz, and his first beyond seven furlongs. The Lumber Guy is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Boltono, whom Schwartz said died the day after foaling The Lumber Guy from complications during birth.

“He was raised on a nurse mare,” Schwartz said of The Lumber Guy.

The Lumber Guy won his debut here on Jan. 28 by 9 1/4 lengths, running six furlongs in 1:10.20 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 90. Unable to find a one-mile race for him, trainer Mike Hushion ran The Lumber Guy in the Miracle Wood Stakes, a race in which he stumbled at the start but quickly recovered to win by 4 1/4 lengths. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 86, though Schwartz said the Ragozin sheet number indicated it was a 7 1/2, almost a full point lower – faster – than the maiden score.

“It was all I could’ve hoped for,”  Hushion said of the Miracle Wood performance. “He did relax that second quarter of a mile when the rider wanted him to. I was glad to see that.”

Hushion said that The Lumber Guy did sustain a minor injury to his left front foot, known as a grabbed quarter, but he did return to the track on Thursday.

Though The Lumber Guy would be stretching out from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles in the Wood, his connections feel he is equipped to get the distance.

“From the time Mike got him he said this is a horse really wants to go long,” Schwartz said. “He knows I want to run there if he thinks we can make it. The Wood is a big step forward, and if Mike’s not confident enough I’ll give him a little confidence.”