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Apr 22, 2011

Kentucky Derby picture discombobulated

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It was upset Saturday on the road to the Kentucky Derby. A pair of longshots got the best of the favorites in the Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby.

First on the schedule was the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in Lexington, KY. Brilliant Speed, ridden by Joel Rosario, went from last to first to pull off the upset as a 19-1 outsider.

Trained by Tom Albertrani, Brilliant Speed was into the race off five straight starts on turf. He obviously carried his grass form to the synthetic track at Keeneland.

"He broke well and I found myself in behind," noted the winning rider. "I just let him relax and make a big run on the outside."

Owned by Live Oak Plantation, Brilliant Speed led two other longshots across the wire, 24-1 Twinspired and 13-1 stablemate King Congie.

"I saw them both coming, and I thought they were going to be in a dead heat for a moment," said Albertrani who trains the winner and King Congie. "They both ran terrific. The other horse (Brilliant Speed) just got the nose down."

Twinspired was never far off the lead in the race and was able to hold on for second after leading at the top of the stretch. He was a late addition to the field when entries were taken on Wednesday.

"My first thought was I didn't think we won, and the second one I thought we won for sure," said Twinspired's trainer Mike Maker.

The 2-1 favorite Santiva was coming off a second-place finish in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Racecourse.

"We just had no racing luck. I was down on the inside and never was able to let him run," said jockey Julien Leparoux about the favorite's race. "The horse was good. He relaxed for me. I had a ton of horse but was never able to get off the rail. Sometimes it's good to draw outside, and sometimes it's good to draw inside. We were happy about drawing inside, but it didn't work out."

The bigger shock came more than an hour later when 25-1 longshot Archarcharch won the $1 millin Arkansas Derby and 4-5 favorite The Factor spit the bit.

Trained by Bob Baffert, The Factor was close to the lead in the 1 1/8-mile race, but had nothing after seven-furlongs.

"I think he may have displaced (his palate)," Baffert said. "Martin (jockey Garcia) really had to snatch him in the first turn. He goes with them, they're going to go in 21. With those two horses (J P's Gusto and Dance City) it was just ridiculous."

The Factor faded to seventh and out of the Derby picture.

Trainer Jinks Fires had his son-in-law Jon Court on the winner, as usual.

"This has just been a dream come true," said Court. "We had a good start. We had a great position. Last time, we just had to go because no one else went with The Factor. This time, we were able to sit back and watch the speed duel unfold. We're just so excited. Winning for Mr. Yagos and my father-in-law makes it all that much sweeter. Kentucky Derby here we come."

Archarcharch won the Southwest Stakes in February at Oaklawn and finished fourth as the favorite in January's Smarty Jones Stakes. The colt was coming out of a third-place finish behind The Factor in the Rebel Stakes.

"This horse is something special," said owner Robert Yagos. "Jinks gave us confidence in this horse since day one. We haven't gotten to take a deep breath since he crossed the wire. Jon and Jinks and the whole barn have done a great job with Archarcharch. This is a big thrill for the family and everyone involved."

After Uncle Mo was third in the Wood Memorial, The Factor became the favorite for the Run for the Roses. Who will assume that position is a very good question.



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