03/28/2010 11:00PM

Schoolyard Dreams set for Wood

Email

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The field for Saturday's $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct underwent a slight revision Monday, with Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Schoolyard Dreams entering the race and Tampa Bay Derby third-place finisher Super Saver exiting the field.

Super Saver, a stablemate of probable Wood favorite Eskendereya, is likely going to make his next start in the $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 10, trainer Todd Pletcher said Monday. Pletcher felt the extra week from the Tampa Bay Derby would help Super Saver, but the trainer also liked the idea of not running two of his best horses against each other.

"I'll always do what's in each individual horse's best interest and each individual owner's best interest, but when it's up to me, I'm not going to run them against each other, especially when there's a million-dollar opportunity somewhere else," Pletcher said.

Led by Fountain of Youth winner Eskendereya and Gotham winner Awesome Act, a field of seven is likely for the Wood when entries are drawn and post positions assigned Wednesday. In addition to Schoolyard Dreams, others likely to enter include Jackson Bend, Turf Melody, Carnivore, and the maiden filly Nicky Boy.

Schoolyard Dreams, who was beaten a nose by Odysseus in the Tampa Bay Derby, was originally scheduled to run in Saturday's Illinois Derby at Hawthorne. One of the major reasons for the change, according to trainer Derek Ryan, was the availability of Ramon Dominguez to ride the horse. Dominguez was expected to ride Super Saver in the Wood and had commitments for the other three Saturday stakes at Aqueduct, including the Ryan-trained Musket Man in the Grade 1 Carter.

"We've been trying to get him on the horse since December," said Ryan, who has used different jockeys in all five of Schoolyard Dreams's starts, including Jeremy Rose last out. "It's not a knock on Jeremy; Dominguez has been the leading rider in the country for the last five years, and we had a chance to get him."

Dominguez is known as a patient rider, and Ryan believes patience is what Schoolyard Dreams needs to excel.

"You can't hit the front too soon," Ryan said. "When you hit the front, he figures the job is done."

In the Tampa Bay Derby, Ryan said Schoolyard Dreams "hit the front nearly around the far turn and when he hit the eighth pole he was like 'What the hell am I doing here?' You got to judge your move at the right time."

Ryan said Schoolyard Dreams and Musket Man left Tampa Bay Downs on Monday and were expected to arrive at Philadelphia Park by early morning Tuesday.

Another potential addition to the Wood field is Nicky Boy, a 3-year-old filly who has been beaten 120 3/4 lengths in her only two starts. Owner Chadda Solange said the filly is expected to ship here Wednesday from Sunland Park in New Mexico, where she was scratched out of a maiden race Sunday.