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May 12, 2006

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


Well Kentucky Derby 132 has come and gone and as always there is talk of a Triple Crown winner, in most cases it is just talk because one leg was already in. The winner of the race was BARBARO, who remained undefeated now through six starts. However the talk of a Triple Crown is more than just talk. This horse not only won the Kentucky Derby he won be more than six lengths while not being asked for his best effort. This was to be the most competitive Kentucky Derby that we have seen in years so an effort like BARBARO displayed on May 6, 2006 was even more impressive.

Sent off as the 6-1 second choice, BARBARO, got away to a stumbling start but quickly recovered and settled in fourth behind the three leaders, KEYED ENTRY, SINISTER MINISTER and SHOWING UP, BARBARO’S stablemate. KEYED ENTRY led through the first ¾’s of a mile in 1:10:4 with SINISTER MINISTER chasing from the start and SHOWING UP a few lengths behind in third and BARBARO tracking nicely in fourth. As they rounded the far turn the leaders began to tire and BARBARO made a big move to take over the lead, opening up into the stretch and drawing away for an easy score. BLUEGRASS CAT who had disappointed in his last two preps for the Derby most recently with a very poor performance in the Blue Grass at Keeneland had bounced back nicely to finish second. His trainer, Todd Pletcher felt that maybe he trained his charge too much in the prep races and kind of backed off heading into the Derby which obviously helped as he put in a solid effort. He is expected to skip the Preakness and point for the third leg of the Triple Crown the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 10th. The third place finisher in the race was STEPPENWOLFER who closed from the back of the pack early on finish a good third at 16-1. BROTHER DEREK and JAZIL deadheated for fourth to complete the superfecta. BROTHER DEREK who was the morning line favorite and many experts top horse heading into the race was sent off as the third choice but could only manage fourth. He didn’t get the best of trips while racing wide from post 18 and then during the running of the race he also lost a shoe. He is expected to run back in the Preakness and should give a much better account of himself as he will be able to race closer to the pace and will not be forced as wide at Pimlico.

The favorite in the race was SWEETNORTHERNSAINT who could only manage a seventh place finish at the 5-1 choice. He got a good trip up the inside and reached contention on the far turn but didn’t have any punch when it counted. He is being considered for the Preakness also and it should be a better set-up for him in that race then it was in the Kentucky Derby. LAWYER RON who was one of the choices heading into the Derby was sent off at 10-1 but never did any running at all and finished a well beaten 12th. He exited the race with some inflammation in his ankle and was going to pass the Preakness because of it but as of today 5/11/06 it appears that the injury is not that serious and LAWYER RON will now point to the Preakness and looks like he will run.

There are a couple of new shooters who will take a shot at BARBARO in the Preakness but if anyone is going to upset the Kentucky Derby winner I believe it will come from someone who ran in the Derby. However if BARBARO runs the way he did in the Derby they will be running for second. The last horse to remain undefeated through the Kentucky Derby was SMARTY JONES, who in 2004 headed into the Belmont with a chance at winning the Triple Crown. This year despite all the chances at the Triple Crown may be the best shot at a Triple Crown. Obviously BARBARO still has to win two more races but if he can make it to the Belmont Stakes he has the breeding to handle the Belmont and will only get stronger going 1 and ½ miles. For the sake of the state of racing a Triple Crown winner may be just what it needs to get more people to come out to the racetracks, more people to get excited about the game again, get it back to the top. We can only hope.



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