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May 07, 2010

Super Saver's owners enjoy notoriety



Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - The owners of Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver are not running away from the publicity that comes with winning the most famous race in the world.

"A friend asked me if I am getting tired of the phone calls," said Bill Casner, chairman and co-owner of WinStar Farms. "Bluegrass Cat ran second in the 2006 Derby and nobody called, so this is pretty special."

Casner owns WinStar Farms with business partner Kenny Troutt. Former trainer Elliott Walden is WinStar's vice president and racing manager. Casner and Troutt bought Prestonwood Farm in 2000 and renamed it WinStar.

"It's a very satisfying feeling," noted Casner. "This win belongs to WinStar. When everybody on your team has a hand in making it happen, that's a victory you can share. That's one of the great things about this game. From the day we signed on the dotted line to buy Prestonwood and it became WinStar Farm, the goal was to breed a horse that could win the Kentucky Derby and we accomplished that with Funny Cide. To do this with a homebred is absolutely beyond dreams."

Casner bred 2003 Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide.

"It's just an elusive race to win," Casner said about the Run for the Roses. "From the time that foal is born to the time he crosses that wire at Churchill, everything has to go perfect. Any interruption compromises the time table. He will also need the experience and the seasoning to be able to perform on the first Saturday in May and then you have all the factors that unfold in the race. Everything has to go perfectly. So when it happened on Saturday, it was a very surreal moment when the horse crossed the wire."

Casner and Troutt came back to thoroughbred racing following an absence of almost 20 years. They partnered with Prestonwood Farm and won the 1998 Belmont Stakes with Victory Gallop who was trained by Walden.

Those hoping for a repeat of the Kentucky Derby exacta will have to search for a replacement for Ice Box. The Derby runner-up, trained by Nick Zito, will be held out of the Preakness and pointed toward the Belmont Stakes on June 5.

Zito said Wednesday that Jackson Bend, 12th in the Run for the Roses, is still a possible Preakness starter. The Hall of Fame trainer indicated that the three-year-old's Preakness status would be made Monday.

"Mike Smith told me right after the race he wanted to ride him back," Zito said. "Give him another chance."

Also on Monday decisions should be finalized concerning Run for the Roses favorite Lookin at Lucky and Conveyance, who finished 15th at Churchill Downs.

"He's 51 now," trainer Bob Baffert said of Lookin At Lucky, speaking of the 50-50 chance of his possible Preakness starters. "This one (Conveyance) is 50."

Lookin At Lucky was sixth in the Kentucky Derby.

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