OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- Jeremy Noseda is based in Newmarket and has a horse running in Saturday's $2 million Godolphin Mile in Dubai. But his primary focus Thursday morning was at Belmont Park, where his top 3-year-old, Awesome Act, is preparing for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 3 as a prelude to what could be a start in the May 1 Kentucky Derby.
"This is my priority," Noseda said. "This is a huge opportunity. Only time will tell me if we're good enough."
Noseda was at Belmont to watch Awesome Act work six furlongs in 1:13.98 Thursday morning over the training track. It was Awesome Act's most serious move since he won the Gotham Stakes on March 6, his first start of the year as well as his first start in North America and on dirt.
Awesome Act worked in company with Maryland-bred stakes winner Peace Town, who is owned by Vinery Stables and was one of the horses entered in last Sunday's race that was canceled by a horsemen's boycott. Vinery also owns half of Awesome Act with Susan and Paul Roy.
Awesome Act, with exercise rider Wayne Tanner up, followed 1 1/2 lengths behind Peace Town through fractions of 13.53 seconds, 26.18, 38.53, and 50.02. Turning into the stretch, Tanner guided Awesome Act to the rail and ahead of Peace Town, mildly pushing on the reins to make him finish about a length ahead of Peace Town at the wire. Awesome Act got his final quarter in 23.96 seconds and galloped out seven-eighths in 1:27.89.
"That was what we needed," Noseda said. "This is his first proper piece of work in 2 1/2 weeks. It'll do him good. It'll get him back sharp. It'll do his wind good.
"I hope this work will put him where I want him to be," he said.
Noseda said Awesome Act had eight or nine days off the track following the Gotham, partly because of the travel he had before the race and partly because of inclement weather. Awesome Act had an easy half-mile work in 50.43 seconds March 20 and is likely to blow out three furlongs Wednesday.
Noseda was scheduled to fly back to England on Thursday night and will remain at his Newmarket base until the day before the Wood when he returns to New York. Noseda will watch Saturday's Dubai World Cup program from Newmarket. The program, in which he will run Forgotten Voice in the Godolphin Mile includes the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
Noseda summed up his priorities this way: "If the World Cup were $20 million and the Kentucky Derby $50,000, what would you prefer to win? This game is not all about money, it's about great races. Sometimes it's not about what they're worth, it's what they mean."
On Thursday, the prospective field for the Wood included Awesome Act, Carnivore, Eskendereya, Jackson Bend, Super Saver, and First Dude.