04/05/2011 1:14PM

Woodbine sees red-hot Ward


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Todd Pletcher wasn’t the only Gulfstream Park-based horsemen to win five races on Saturday. Wesley Ward also turned the trick the same afternoon - at Woodbine. Four of those five winners were ridden by apprentice John Delgado.

“I’ve been really lucky up there the last couple of years,” said Ward from his barn at Gulfstream early Monday afternoon. “I got the first condition book as soon as it came out and saw they were writing some races early that fit my horses perfectly, so I planned accordingly. I got a nice start into most of them here at Gulfstream, shipped them to Keeneland to get a work over the polytrack last Tuesday, and then shipped them up to Woodbine on time.”

Ward said it wasn’t the nice purses that lured him to Woodbine over the weekend as much as the thought of facing easier competition than he would encounter running the same horses at Gulfstream.

“I knew they had a harsh winter, so I felt the competition would have been a little softer for them up there than it would have been against horses that have been training and racing here all winter,” Ward explained.

Ward, who worked six 2-year-olds at Gulfstream on Monday morning, said he’s ready to go for the two “baby” races in the book here near the end of this week, as well as for all the 2-year-old races carded during the upcoming Keeneland meet. He also updated the status of some of the top older runners in his barn, including the 2010 Florida Derby runner-up, Pleasant Prince.

“We took a chip out of Pleasant Prince’s knee, one that he raced with all last year, following the Breeders’ Cup. It never bugged him, but I just thought it was a good time to take it out, give him a rest, and have a fresh horse this season. He’s ready for his third work over the weekend, and I’ll let him do a little something harder this time, because he’s tearing the barn down. We’ll probably look for a race for him Derby week at Churchill Downs.”

Ward also reported that his speedster Gangsterontherun had a chip taken out of his knee last Friday and that Madman Diaries would run in a six-furlong stakes at Woodbine on April 16.

“I need to get Madman Diaries back on track, so I thought taking him back where he’s done his best, to Woodbine, was the way to go,” said Ward.

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