Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 10th 2015 Contents A55
May 10, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Now comes the easy part for American
Pharoah---the Preakness Stakes.
At least that s the way Bob Baffert sizes
up the next race on the Triple Crown trail.
The Hall of Fame trainer is 3-0 when his
Kentucky Derby winner runs in the Preakness,
and his fourth Derby winner American
Pharoah should be the heavy favorite for Sat-
urday s race.
"To me, the Preakness is the easiest of the
three legs," Baffert said this week, a few days
after American Pharoah s hard-fought, one-
length Derby victory over Firing Line. "The
Derby is the hardest. Once you get through
there, you know your horses are in top form.
It s a two-week turnaround. It s just a matter
of getting there."
And winning there.
Baffert s Derby-Preakness winners are Sil-
ver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998 and
War Emblem in 2002. He owns two other
Preakness winners---Point Given in 2001 and
Lookin At Lucky in 2010. Both were beaten
The Belmont Stakes three weeks after the
Preakness? Well, that s another story: Baffert
is 0 for 3 in attempts to end a Triple Crown
drought that began after Affirmed swept the
Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1978.
"The Belmont," he said, "you see that it
wears on them."
For sure. Silver Charm was passed in the
stretch and beaten by three-quarters of a
length; Real Quiet lost by a nose in the closest
of finishes; and War Emblem stumbled at
the start and finished seventh.
"I m not even thinking about it right now,"
the 62-year-old Baffert said. "I just want to
enjoy this win and go to the Preakness and
really enjoy it. I m older. It s much less pres-
The 1 3/16-mile Preakness is shaping up
as a tough test for American Pharoah on sev-
Firing Line and third-place Derby finisher
Dortmund are out for payback. A few other
Derby runners could show up, along with
several new shooters, including one from the
stable of Barbaro s owners.
"He s showing us positive vibes since the
race," Firing Line s trainer Simon Callaghan
said. "He s a horse that just takes these races
in stride. I think we have a really good chance
of turning the tables."
Baffert also trains Dortmund but has no
qualms about the possibility his own horse
could end his Derby winner s chance to go
for the Triple Crown.
"I think he deserves another chance," the
trainer said, adding that Dortmund might
like the shorter Preakness distance (a 16th-
of-a-mile shorter). "In my barn, everyone
gets an equal shot."
Baffert planned to be at Churchill Downs
on Sunday to see his two horses, and said
Dortmund would run in the Preakness "as
long as he looks good Monday and Tuesday."
After watching videos of his two colts jogging
Thursday morning, the trainer said, "Pharoah
looks great. Dortmund looks good."
And there s this: Could American Pharoah
be a bit worn out after facing his first stiff
challenge in the Derby?
The 3-year-old owned by Ahmed Zayat
had won his previous four races by a com-
bined 22 1/4 lengths, including an eight-
length romp in the Arkansas Derby. At
Churchill Downs, he struggled somewhat
but remained third before jockey Victor
Espinoza urged him on coming out of the
far turn. He used his whip on the horse a
reported 32 times in overtaking Dortmund
and Firing Line.
Some have questioned whether Espinoza s
use of the whip was excessive. Baffert said
the veteran rider was trying to keep American
"He was flagging him and hitting him,
but he hits him on the saddle towel, and he
doesn t really hit that hard," Baffert said
during a national conference call this week.
"It was to keep him busy. The horse wasn t
responding on the turn for home."
Others being considered for the Preakness
include Derby runners Danzig Moon, Mate-
riality, Carpe Diem and Mr Z; set to run is
Divining Rod; and possibles include Com-
petitive Edge, Stanford, Tale of Verve, Grand
Bill and Bodhisattva.
Divining Rod is owned by Gretchen and
Roy Jackson, who also owned Barbaro. Nine
years ago, millions looked on in horror as
the 2006 Derby winner shattered a leg at
the start of the Preakness and was vanned
off the track in a horse ambulance. Eight
months later, he was euthanized.
Trainer Arnaud Delacour said Divining
Rod, winner of the Lexington Stakes, is ready
"It s a tough bunch of horses," he said.
"The only thing is: I think everybody ran
pretty hard, so you never know how they
are going to come back in two weeks." (AP)
Preakness: Easy for Derby winner
American Pharoah, or not?
champion Rico Walcott missed out on a
brace after having a win disqualified, as
he continued to make early inroads into
the new season at Northlands Park in
Alberta on Friday.
Riding on the eight-race card at the west-
ern Canada racing oval, the 26-year-old
crossed the wire first in race one with Misty
Creek, only to be disqualified and placed
Stewards ruled he interfered with Gold
Kiss, who had initially finished second after
crossing the wire half-length behind.
Going six furlongs for three-year-old and
upwards fillies and mares, Misty Creek and
Devil s Assassin duelled through the half-
mile in 46.93 seconds.
Walcott got Misty Creek to the lead at
the quarter pole before Gold Kiss joined the
fray late stretch to make things interesting.
With the disqualification, Walcott then
had to wait until race seven before legiti-
mately finding the winners enclosure, when
he steered favourite True Thought to a com-
fortable four-length win over the three-
year-olds and upward going six furlongs.
Walcott broke the four-year-old bay geld-
ing sharply to make all the running, ham-
mering out fractions of 22.83 seconds for
the quarter and 45.58 for the half, before
getting home in one minute, 20.39 seconds.
Former champion, Barbadian Quincy
Welch also found winners row when he
produced a gate-to-wire effort aboard 10-
1 bet Saint Sassy Sue, to beat the three-
year-old fillies and mares by two lengths,
in a six-furlong trip.
Walcott has brace dented by disqualification
Exercise rider Jorge Alvarez jogs Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah the wrong
way around the track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday. American
Pharoah is training at Churchill Downs before heading to Baltimore for The Preakness
Stakes on Saturday. AP PHOTO
Speculative Bid could return to Ascot for next
month s Royal meeting after he stretched his
unbeaten record in 2015 to three with a tidy
victory in the Totescoop6 Victoria Cup, yester-
Speculative Bid hasn t been the soundest of
individuals since he joined David Elsworth s team
last year, but the trainer s decision to let the 10-
1 shot take his chance on the drying ground
proved spot on.
Jamie Spencer uncorked his strong-travelling
mount to go clear inside the distance, before
readily holding the staying on Lincoln by half a
length. The pair were two and a quarter lengths
clear of Hawkeyethenoo.
Elsworth recalled going close in this race with
Bonnie Brae, and said: "He s had problems, issues
with his soundness and the ground was definitely
Elsworth enjoyed a renaissance at this time
last year, especially with his two-year-olds. How-
ever, his momentum this season has been curbed
to a degree by coughing in his Newmarket sta-
Kilimanjaro wore down the long-time leader
Magic Dancer to strike for the Aidan O Brien
team in the betfred.com Derby Trial Stakes at
Ryan Moore had to work hard on the quirky
son of High Chaparral to get on top in the closing
stages and Kilimanjaro (5-1) asserted in the final
strides to take this Listed race by a length and
Christophermarlowe, the 2-5 favourite and
wearing the same colours as the winner, flattered
to deceive as his challenge petered out and he
was only third.
Paul Smith, for the winning owners, said: "That
was really good. He s progressing all the time.
John Gosden, trainer of beaten favourite
Christophermarlowe, said: "He was never going
on the ground. As he s by Tapit he wants it fast
and the ground was too dead for him today."
Sky Bet cut Kilimanjaro to 33/1 from 80/1 for
the Investec Derby while Christophermarlowe
was pushed out to 33/1.
Toujours takes Oaks Trial
Toujours L Amour fought on gamely to land
the Listed spoils in the Betfred Mobile Oaks
Trial Stakes at Lingfield.
The 15-2 shot, trained by William Haggas, was
brought with a powerful run on the far rail by
Harry Bentley to challenge for the lead after Vive
Ma Fille, Tidal Moon and Maybelater had helped
set the pace.
Toujours L Amour, who does not hold an entry
in the Investec Oaks, showed the right qualities
to win on her first race for 189 days as she defeated
Bellajeu by a length and a quarter.
Aidan O Brien s Wedding Vow, the 8-11
favourite, was a never nearer third, three-quarters
of a length away after being last into the straight.
Haggas said: "I thought she toughed it out
very well. They went no gallop early on and she
was given a canny ride up the inside.
"She got lucky with the gap. She stayed on
well and wanted to win.
"We re looking towards the Ribblesdale Stakes.
She stays well and that is her forte. I don t know
how good the race was but I m really pleased."
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