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Apr 02, 2010

Favorites come up empty in weekend Derby preps

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Five weeks out from the 136th Kentucky Derby and three relative unknowns came up with victories in the weekend's three prep races.

In the first of two stakes on Saturday, Dean's Kitten got the best of favorite Connemara to win the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park. Ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, the colt came from off the pace to give trainer Mike Maker his second win in the event.

Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Dean's Kitten posted a 2 1/2-length win over Northern Giant with 8-5 favorite Connemara finishing a disappointing third in the nine horse field.

"I really like this horse," Velasquez said after the victory. "He's why I came here today. He has a lot of try. He loves Polytrack. He can run on grass, but this is his track. Mr. Maker never gave me any instructions. I just wanted to keep him off the pace. I had a ton of horse at the top of the stretch. I was very confident in him. He"s a nice horse."

Officially, Dean's Kitten received $291,000 in graded stakes earnings with the win. That should be sufficient to put him in the top 20 three-year-olds for the Run for the Roses if his connections should decide to run.

"Well, you'd have to talk to the boss," the winning trainer stated Saturday, "but I'd have to say he'd be inclined to go. I do know that Mr. Ramsey is excited, and that he's still awake [in Dubai where Furthest Land ran in the Dubai World Cup]. I stayed here because I had Les over in Dubai, and I thought it would be overkill to have two people there with the horse."

About 40 minutes after the Lane's End, Mission Impazible got the best of Discreetly Mine to win the $750,000 Louisiana Derby in New Orleans. Discreetly Mine had won the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds last month going wire- to-wire.

"It was very ideal for me the way (the race) played out," said winning jockey Rajiv Maragh. "Todd (trainer Todd Pletcher) really didn't give a lot of instructions but he did say not to get tangled up with Discreetly Mine on the front end. The horse was always there for me, always willing to go and that made my ride much easier."

Owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stable, Mission Impazible beat A Little Warm by less than a length with Drosselmeyer third and Discreetly Mine finishing fourth. Discreetly Mine was a less than heavy 7-2 favorite in the 13 horse field.

Sent off at odds of 7-1, Mission Impazible picked up $450,000 to again put the gray colt into the Kentucky Derby picture.

In Sunday's $800,000 Sunland Derby trainer Bob Baffett sent over undefeated Conveyance for his final race before the Run for the Roses. The colt was the 7-10 favorite in the nine horse field.

However, it was 11-1 longshot Endorsement who got the win and a ticket to Churchill Downs. His trainer Shannon Ritter confirmed that the colt is headed to Louisville for the first race of the Triple Crown.

Baffert will come back this Saturday with champion colt Lookin At Lucky in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. Conveyance was second Sunday, losing by three- lengths.

Endorsement is owned by WinStar Farm and the $400,000 from the win for the first time is put toward entry into the Kentucky Derby. The Sunland Derby, one year after Mine That Bird was fourth, is a Grade 3 stakes race.

Three races, three favorites denied an easy road to the Run for the Roses.

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