Gemologist, right, defeats Alpha in the Wood (Eclipse Sportswire)
Gemologist is a very interesting horse. His natural pattern of motion is to move another horse, and not just by presence. He wants to move the other horses physically. Gemologist wants to get up in the other horse’s grill and make that horse know he is there. That’s a very high dynamic, but unfortunately it’s not the optimum efficiency.
He was waiting on Alpha in the Wood Memorial, because that’s his game. He really feeds off close contact. He seeks to target and make contact with another horse in his space. That will cause him to lose focus when he is on the lead. He clearly lost some of his forward motion while waiting to engage Alpha.
Gemologist has a good group dynamic and he can handle a lot of stimulus. If he finds himself in the herd early in the race, he should be OK. He’s certainly a high-level horse, and he’s very bullish into space.
Once he has the lead, I’d like to see more of a sense of urgency to move forward, instead of hunting backward. Gemologist has delayed release points. A horse that moves horses with presence has a faster target and release than a horse that wants to do so physically.
Gemologist is not going to be the only one wanting to battle for space in this Derby. He is a high-level horse, but I worry that he could get so engaged with individual battles, he could lose awareness of the larger herd, the race.