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Mar 11, 2005

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


            We are starting to get into the meat of the Triple Crown preps and

 Saturday March 5th was the start of the big preps; with the Fountain of Youth

and Swale Stakes at Gulfstream and the Santa Catalina at Santa Anita. Along

 with those stakes races there was also an impressive allowance winner at Gulfstream

 that threw his hat into the ring.

            In Race 9 at Gulfstream on March 5th there was a 10 horse field lining

 up to face the starter with the heavy favorite LOST IN THE FOG being sent

off at 1-2. LOST IN THE FOG was undefeated coming into the race scoring by

a combined 27 lengths over three races. After breaking from an outside post,

jockey Russell Baze was able to get LOST IN THE FOG to rate behind the

speedy MORE SMOKE. As they approached the top of the stretch LOST IN THE FOG

 took over and drew away to score by almost five lengths. The time of the race

was 1:22:1 which was very good for that day, however, the field that he defeated

 was not much and there are still questions about the distance. It looks like he

 will be on the Triple Crown trail (Santa Anita Derby 4/9 next) and he looks like

 an exciting prospect regardless if he makes it to the classics or not.

            Two races later in the Fountain of Youth HIGH FLY who was making

 his first start for the Nick Zito barn after a failed try as the odds-on choice in

the Holy Bull. HIGH FLY would also be getting the services of Jerry Bailey for

 the first time. After breaking sharply from post six, HIGH FLY was able to get

 a good spot behind pacesetter B. B. BEST. As they approached the top of the

 stretch HIGH FLY took over and held off BANDINI to score by ¾’s of a length

 as the even money favorite. BANDINI an improving sort from the Todd Pletcher

 barn ran well in his first try versus stakes company while finishing second

with B. B. BEST holding on for third. The rest of the field never really got

involved and should not be considered as contenders. HIGH FLY and BANDINI

 are expected to go in the Florida Derby next, along with third place finisher

B. B. BEST.

            Another contender for the Florida Derby also raced at Gulfstream on

 Saturday but it wasn’t in a stakes race, it was in an allowance race.

NOBLE CAUSEWAY, another from the Zito barn was impressive winning an

 allowance race with a lot to spare. The time of the race was 1:50:4, not that

bad considering the pace was not that hot early on. Well bred colt can only get

 better off that effort.

            Moving to the West Coast and Santa Anita where they hosted the

Santa Catalina stakes on Saturday March 5th. The favorite in the race was the

2YO champion DECLAN’S MOON, who was undefeated in four starts last year.

 A short six horse field would enter the starting gate with SPANISH CHESTNUT

 and GOING WILD as the main contenders. After breaking well from the

starting gate the favorite was able to sit a good trip outside the pacesetter

SPANISH CHESTNUT. The fractions were fast but DECLAN’S MOON was still

 able to kick away late to score by two lengths in a decent time. His next race

will be the Santa Anita Derby on April 9th at Santa Anita. With that race under

his belt he should set-up perfectly for his try at the Kentucky Derby. He is

expected to meet fellow undefeated LOST IN THE FOG which should make for

 a great Santa Anita Derby.

            The Louisiana Derby along with the El Camino Real Derby will be held

on March 12th. These races will continue to clear up the picture as we get

closer to the first Saturday in May. We will take a look at as many prep races

 as possible leading up to the Kentucky Derby and we will also give our top

 five list periodically.

 

 



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