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Mar 31, 2005

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


            On Saturday March 26th there were four Derby Prep races, two

 at Turfway Park, one at Laurel and one all the way across the globe in

 Dubai. The Dubai World Cup, a $6 million race was also run on March 26th.

            In the first prep race at Turfway, the Rushaway Stakes, a $100k

stake race for three year olds at 1 and 1/16th miles, PROUD ACCOLADE

was sent off as the 2-5 favorite but never lifted a hoof. He finished a bad sixth

 while tiring in the stretch and showed that his best races will be around

one turn. The winner of the race was CAT SHAKER, who previously only

 had one win from eight starts. That win came in a maiden race at

Mountaineer Park. The second place finisher in the race was DADDY JOE, who

 had two wins but never in a stakes race. His only two tries in stakes races

 resulted in double digit defeats. It would be hard to find a horse from this

race that would have a shot in the Derby and it would be a surprise if any

of them show up in the race.

            The next race was the Lanes End Stakes, a Grade II for three year

olds, run at 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $500,000. The slight favorite

in the race was SPANISH CHESTNUT, who was coming off a third place

finish in the Santa Catalina out at Santa Anita. After breaking well from the

 8 post, jockey Gary Stevens put him right on the lead through a half mile in

46:3. At that point in the race jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr., on MR. SWORD,

 made a strong run up the inside to challenge the leader and take over heading

 around the far turn. After clearing to a three length lead in the stretch,

MR. SWORD began to run erratically as he began to tire and he finished third.

 The winner was FLOWER ALLEY, coming off a maiden win but hailing from

the powerful Todd Pletcher barn. After stalking the pace early on, FLOWER ALLEY

starting to run greenly, resenting the dirt that was being kicked in his face. After

dropping back to finish fifth, the jockey Jorge Chavez moved him outside

 and he finished strongly to score by a half length. The time of the race wasn’t

that bad (1:50:1) considering the track was a muddy mess. WILD DESERT

finished second with a good run and looks like an improving three year old

but still might be a cut below the better three year olds. MR. SWORD tired

to third after that early move and may have been best with a better timed

 ride. The three choices in the race SPANISH CHESTNUT, MAGNA GRADUATE,

 and ANDROMEDA’S HERO, finished 6th, 4th and 5th respectively.

FLOWER ALLEY will be an interesting three year old that can only get better

 for a top barn and is one to watch.

            In a small stakes at Laurel, the Private Terms stakes, run at a mile

with a purse of $50k. The winner of the race was MALIBU MOONSHINE who

 ran his record to 5 wins in 9 starts. This is a useful three year old but is

nowhere near the caliber of the top three year olds. It should be safe to say that

 no one in this race is a contender for any of the Triple Crown races.

At Nad Al Sheba in Dubai they hosted the UAE Derby, a race for three

year olds at 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $2 million. The winner of

 the race was BLUES AND ROYALS, who had one win in three starts

 all on the turf and that one win came in a sprint. The win was impressive

 but he wasn’t beating any kind of stock and the fact that horses from

Dubai who have tried the Derby in the past and failed, it would hard

pressed for BLUES AND ROYALS to be considered a contender. If he

 does show up at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May lets hope

 he takes some money at the windows.

            Finally in the Dubai World Cup, a race for three year olds and

older, run at 1 and ¼ miles with a purse of $6 million, ROSES IN MAY

 showed why he is one of the best horses in the world easily defeating

 the field by three lengths. DYNEVER closed to finish second over

CHOCTAW NATION who was third. JACK SULLIVAN a local horse

 checked in fourth. ROSES IN MAY was on a big roll late last year

and finished a good second to GHOSTZAPPER in the Breeders Cup

 Classic. He will make his presence felt this year in the handicap division.  

 



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