03/08/2013 3:44PM

Aqueduct: The Truth and K G gives his connections options


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – By no means does owner Jim Riccio Sr. have Derby fever. But his 3-year-old The Truth and K G gave him something to think about with his first-level allowance win Thursday at Aqueduct.

Attempting two turns for the first time, The Truth and K G put away a pace challenge from debut winner Now and Then and held off the late-running Go Get the Basil – who had won three consecutive races – to win by a nose. The Truth and K G, trained by Rudy Rodriguez, ran a mile and 70 yards in 1:42.01 and both he and Go Get the Basil earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.

“I thought he ran a big race,” Riccio said. “He got pressed pretty much the whole way, and I think [Now and Then] and [Go Get the Basil] are both okay. It was a small field, but there were three nice horses in the race.”

Riccio said he’s not sure what might be next for The Truth and K G, but he did not rule out attempting to stretch him out further in distance in a race like the $1 million Wood Memorial here April 6 or, more likely, the $750,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on April 21.

“We’re gonna explore some options with him, exactly what I don’t know,” Riccio said Friday. “I don’t know if he wants to go much further than that, but we might have to try.”

The Illinois Derby does not offer any qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby and is likely to be used by some connections as a prep for the Preakness on May 18. In 2010, Riccio campaigned the New York-bred Yawanna Twist, who ran second in the Illinois Derby and fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths by Lookin At Lucky, in the Preakness.

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The Truth and K G is not nominated to the Triple Crown, and Riccio would have to put up a $6,000 late nomination fee by March 30 to make him eligible for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes.

“I’ll look and see what I think,” Riccio said Friday. “Sometimes the Preakness is a good option.”

Riccio claimed The Truth and K G for $40,000 last Sept. 23, out of a race in which he finished fourth as the 3-5 favorite. Riccio dropped him in for a $25,000 claiming price at Aqueduct on Nov. 16 and the horse galloped by 8 1/2 lengths. He won a starter allowance by 6 3/4 lengths on Jan. 10 before running second to Rubysandpearls in the Java Gold Stakes on Feb. 10.

Riccio thought about running The Truth and K G in Saturday’s $100,000 Fred “Cappy” Capossela, but didn’t want to run against Clawback at six furlongs.

“I said to Rudy, ‘Let’s try to stretch him out and see what happens,’ ” Riccio said. “He looks like a sprinter, but what does that mean? It’s the inner track, did we trick him yesterday? I don’t know, a lot of times horses will run real good first time going long.”

The Truth and K G is by Successful Appeal out of a Forest Camp mare. Buried deep in the pedigree, however, is Concern, who won the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Lumber Guy back home

The Lumber Guy, winner of the Grade 1 Vosburgh and runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, returned to New York and trainer Mike Hushion on Wednesday following two disappointing races at Santa Anita.

Following the Breeders’ Cup, owner Barry Schwartz left The Lumber Guy out west with trainer Neil Drysdale. The Lumber Guy finished seventh as the favorite in both the Grade 1 Malibu in December and the Grade 2 San Carlos in February.

Hushion said he has not yet had discussions with Schwartz about where and when The Lumber Guy would run next. The Grade 1 Carter is scheduled for seven furlongs on April 6.

“We’ll see how he likes being home,” Hushion said.