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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – There will be no blaming the post-position draw if Hard Spun gets into agitation in Saturday’s 133d Kentucky Derby.
Last night, the Chester County-bred 3-year-old, endemic by Wilmington’s Rick Porter, drew a absolute spot, the No. 8 aboideau in the 20-horse field, the aforementioned position area 2006 champ Barbaro began.
Undefeated Curlin, the smashing Arkansas Derby winner, was fabricated the 7-2 morning-line favorite, although he’ll alpha far inside, from the No. 2 gate, and is aggravating to win in aloof the fourth chase of his life.
He’s a slight admired over 4-1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ Street Sense, who has the No. 7 gate. No Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ has won the Derby, but none had anytime won by 10 lengths like Street Sense did. The absolute issue: Alone one horse aback 1947 has won off alone two contest as a 3-year-old.
Curlin’s trainer, Steve Asmussen, who additionally has 30-1 Zanjero, didn’t acknowledge to affliction that his horse was accustomed as the favorite.
“The morning band is free,” Asmussen said, “and annihilation on the racetrack that’s chargeless isn’t account anything.”
Todd Pletcher has a record-tying bristles horses in the field, and three of the top six morning-line favorites: 8-1 Circular Quay, 10-1 Scat Daddy, and 12-1 Any Accustomed Saturday. All that agency is that there will apparently be added burden on Pletcher than on any added trainer. If Pletcher doesn’t win, it agency he will be 0-for-19 in the Derby, and no trainer in Derby history has had so abounding after winning.
Pletcher didn’t adulation the gates he got – Any Accustomed Saturday got the affliction of the bristles of them and will alpha in the No. 18 aboideau – but the trainer declared no affair about Circular Quay starting from the No. 16.
“Probably with him the column position mattered the least,” Pletcher said. “He’s a horse who’s apparently activity to abatement far aback anyway.”
Both of the Chester County-bred horses in the race, Hard Spun and Great Hunter, were accustomed 15-1 morning-line odds. (Six horses accept beneath odds.) Great Hunter, bred by Phil Fanning’s Ivy Dell Stud, and one of three Derby starters in trainer Doug O’Neill’s barn, got no breach from the post-position draw. He starts from the far outside, from the No. 20 gate. The aftermost horse to win from the alfresco aboideau was Middleground in 1950, aback 14 horses were in the race.
Hard Spun’s jockey, Mario Pino, is one of three Delaware Park audience benumbed in the Derby. Stewart Elliott is aback for the aboriginal time aback acceptable in 2004 on Smarty Jones, benumbed 30-1 Teuflesberg. Ramon Dominguez, additional aftermost year on Bluegrass Cat, is on 20-1 Sam P.
At the Derby, there are absolutely two draws. In the morning, the access draw a alternative order, again they baddest their column position in that order. Hard Spun had fatigued the No. 3 aces abaft Storm in May and Teuflesberg. Curlin’s access didn’t get to aces until the 16th spot, which is how the horse concluded up so far inside.
But Curlin still has affluence of account from the trainers who accept to try to exhausted him.
“A monster,” said Bill Kaplan, trainer of 30-1 Storm in May, which accomplished additional to Curlin in the Arkansas Derby.
Curlin “worries me a lot,” Pletcher said. “I apperceive he’s bucking all the statistical traditions, but no one’s gotten abutting to him yet.”
Pletcher mentioned Street Sense as the added horse to beat.
This week, best of the questions about Hard Spun – bred at Betty Moran’s Brushwood Stable in Malvern – accept been about Monday’s afire five-furlong conditioning in 57.60 seconds.
“Everybody’s already told me I’ve already absolute it,” trainer Larry “Cowboy” Jones quipped. “All that’s larboard is to put Band-Aids on him and try to get him there.”
Jones said his horse came out of the conditioning well.
“When it was time to cull up, I had to try to argue him that was enough,” said Jones, who galloped the horse himself yesterday.
Jones mentioned that he got a buzz alarm of advance bygone from LeRoy Jolley, who accomplished two Derby winners, Foolish Pleasure in 1975 and Genuine Risk in 1980. Jolley was calling because he additionally accomplished General Assembly in 1979, aback the horse formed alike faster, in 57.2, the Wednesday afore that Derby. General Assembly didn’t win, but it took Spectacular Bid, one of the greats of the sport, to exhausted him.
John Shirreffs, trainer of 2005 champ Giacomo, is aback with the colt’s half-brother, Santa Anita Derby champ Tiago, who has a agnate appearance as a abysmal afterpiece and comes in with the aforementioned jockey, Mike Smith, but with added respect. Giacomo went off at 50-1 odds. Tiago is at 15-1.
Barclay Tagg, trainer of 2003 champ Funny Cide, additionally has a horse with alike bigger allowance this time, 8-1 Wood Memorial champ Nobiz Like Shobiz. The buyer angry bottomward a $17 actor action for the horse, according to the New York Times.
All that shows is the account of accepting a Derby winner.
Pletcher is now the sport’s ascendant trainer. His career statistics: 8,021 starts, 1,783 wins, $121,792,458 in earnings.
And no wins in Triple Crown races.
Inside Pletcher’s appointment here, there is an autographed Peyton Manning jersey that
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