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May 29, 2007

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


            If you hadn’t heard by now there will not be a Triple Crown winner in 2007, which means we will have to wait until next year to try and get the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. However the racing world may have gotten something just as good, a rivalry that could last a while and raise the interest in our great sport. With the top three finishers in the Derby coming back and finishing 1-2-3 in the Preakness in different order has gotten some people talking. They are talking about these three horses and how they seem to be a cut above the other three year olds and maybe, just maybe they can stick around long enough to bring some excitement to the game.

            STREET SENSE the winner of the Derby finished second in the Preakness, CURLIN, who closed for third in the Derby won the Preakness and HARD SPUN who was second in the Derby held on for third in the Preakness. As of this writing CURLIN and HARD SPUN are expected to run in the Belmont Stakes on June 9th with STREET SENSE not yet confirmed for the race but is under serious consideration.

            In the Preakness Stakes there was a field of nine horses with the Kentucky Derby winner STREET SENSE sent off as the 6-5 favorite. CURLIN was second choice at 3-1 with HARD SPUN going off at 4-1. As the race unfolded the pace was quicker than the Derby with the half mile going in 45:3 as longshots XCHANGER and FLYING FIRST CLASS battled on the lead while HARD SPUN tracked in third. As they continued down the backside HARD SPUN made a move three wide to take over the lead as they went to the six furlong mark in 1:09:4 and held the lead into the lane with longshot C P WEST tracking his move around the turn. CURLIN who was racing in seventh early on was making a big move on the turn with STREET SENSE not far behind. As CURLIN came wide into the lane STREET SENSE split rivals and blew right by the leaders to take over and looked home free and headed for a shot at the Triple Crown. But CURLIN had other ideas, as he changed over to his right lead he began to gain on STREET SENSE slowly grinding him down and getting up at the wire to win by a head, taking away any shot at a Triple Crown. But now their both 1-1 when racing against each other with HARD SPUN not too far behind those two rivals.

            When looking ahead to the Belmont if the top three return it will be a great race but with TIAGO, GREAT HUNTER and NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ as possible starters for the Belmont we may be looking at one of the best Belmonts we have seen in a while possibly of all time considering the talent that would line up in the gate.

            In other racing news at Belmont in the Grade II Shuvee on the same day as the Preakness Allen Jerkens won his fifth Shuvee when Joseph Allen’s TEAMMATE ran down the heavily favored SUGAR SHAKE to score by a half length. The four year old A. P. INDY filly is trying to improve on last year’s one win which also came in a Grade II event. She did have four second place finishers last year, with two of them coming in Grade I events.

            On the Preakness undercard in the BARBARO Stakes for three year olds we saw heavily favored CHELOKEE score an easy victory under Ramon Dominguez for trainer Michael Matz, who also trained Barbaro to victory in last year’s Kentucky Derby before breaking his leg at Pimlico in the Preakness. This three year old has a ton of talent and may be one to reckon with as the year moves on.

 



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