He may be a longshot at Aqueduct's Wood Memorial (G2) this weekend, but that's not stopping the Pennsylvania-homebred MARKET MAVEN from giving it his best shot. The SUPER NINETY NINE gelding will make his first stakes race appearance for owner and breeder Gregory Gordon. As an owner, Gordon has 10 wins, four runner-ups and three thirds from 23 starters since he sent his first horse out in 2013. MARKET MAVEN is currently his only horse in training.
MARKET MAVEN has improved in every race starting with his sixth place debut for which he earned a 39 Beyer back in November. He improved to a second place finish in December and a 48 Beyer. In February, he broke his maiden by a length and increased his score to 74 and then to 81 with a four-length win against optional claimers.
For trainer Penny Pearce, MARKET MAVEN is a first for her as well. She will saddle her first career graded stakes starter this weekend and hopes he will earn some qualifying points to put him on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
"Every time we take him out there, he gets a bit better every time. We really don't know what we have yet. You can't win if you ain't in it. We're all pretty excited. I don't think anyone is more excited than Gregory; he bred and raised him and he's the only one he has in training. When he came to me about this race, I was a little [surprised]. But we started talking about it and we said, ‘Why not?' He's a nice horse and has talent," says Pearce.
The Wood Memorial has seen 11 of its winners win the Kentucky Derby. In the irons will be MARKET MAVEN'S usual jockey, Dexter Haddock. Haddock, primarily based on the parx circuit, has ridden MARKET MAVEN in all four of his starts. Pearce wants to maintain that relationship.
"He's the only jock that's been on him since I got him; Dexter's done all the work with him. That gives me a little more confidence because he knows him better than anyone."
His running style has been to win on the front, but Pearce believes he has the talent to be versatile. "I think if he could get up close to the lead or get the lead, he can come from a little out of it, too, so never know. It all looks good on paper but you go out there and everything changes when you come out of the gate."
The goal of the MARKET MAVEN team is to go out there and have a fun day. No pressure and hopefully MARKET MAVEN will run well for this family-run operation and owner Gregory Gordon.
Adapted from NYRA Press Release.