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Triple Crown Prep Results

Date: 03/20/2005

For most Triple Crown contenders, this is a do-or-die weekend, with horses that place well going on to the final round of preps in 3-4 weeks time and then on to the Kentucky Derby. Bettors looking for longshots probably didn't enjoy themselves, with short-priced horses finishing on top in all four events.

Sun King winner of the Tampa Bay Derby.
The stakes action begins at Tampa Bay Downs for the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby. Seven went to post in this $250,000 event, with Sun King the prohibitive favorite at 1- 20. Sun King ran as expected, breaking sharpest of all out of the gate under Edgar Prado, setting an easy pace while holding 43-1 longshot Nicandro a half length at bay through a half in 48.65 and 3/4 in 1:13.54, then turning away the late closing bid of 27-1 shot Forever Wild to win by 3 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:43.98 for the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track. It was 3 1/2 lengths back to 62-1 longest shot Global Trader in third.
Results Chart

Winning trainer Nick Zito said, "I'm very happy with the way he ran. I was surprised he went to the lead. I think (jockey Edgar Prado) wanted to school him and see how much horse he really had and he did a good job. Sometimes you have to do that. The horse is versatile. I was glad it was a small field. You take what you can get to set him up good for the Bluegrass. You don't want to overdo it in Florida, California, Oaklawn, no matter where you stable. We had a good winter so far and Tampa been good to us."

Winning jockey Edgar Prado said, "I was riding with confidence every step of the way and when he felt the company of another horse coming he caught another gear."


Survivalist winner of the Gotham Stakes.
At Aqueduct, a field of nine was entered in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, a one-turn mile around the main track with a $150,000 purse. Galloping Grocer was sent off as the 6-5 favorite over 7-2 second choice Survivalist and 4-1 third choice Naughty New Yorker.

67-1 longshot Distinctive Trick and 85-1 longest shot Lieutenant Danz gunned to the front right away and were 2 lengths clear of the field through 1/4 in 22.27 and 1/2 in 44.59. Galloping Grocer sat just off the pacesetters in third down the backstretch. Turning for home, Galloping Grocer inherited the lead after 3/4 in 1:09.22, then hooked up in a prolonged stretch duel with 18-1 shot Pavo. The two exchanged the lead through the lane, as Survivalist rallied from eighth early on, took an outside path and ran right by Pavo and Galloping Grocer to win by 3/4 length. Pavo finished second by a neck over Galloping Grocer in third, and it was 1/2 length back to Naughty New Yorker in fourth. However, during the stretch run, Pavo's rider Alan Garcia interfered with Naughty New Yorker with the whip so Pavo was disqualified to fourth.
Results Chart

Winning trainer Shug McGaughey said, "I like the way he ran. I came up here with a lot of confidence. I'm tickled to death with the way Survivalist ran. He popped a splint after he broke his maiden and I lost some time with him. We got him going back down there, and he's been going good so far. How far he wants to go, I don't know. What I'm going to do, I don't know. I'll talk to Mr. (owner Ogden Mills) Phipps when the time comes. I would think the Wood Memorial is a good possibility."

Mike Luzzi, aboard 2nd place Galloping Grocer, said, "He ran really hard and he tried hard. I have more confidence in him now. This should set him up good for the Wood Memorial. He's a wind-up horse. He'll be farther back in the Wood, because today, he moved before I wanted him to." Trainer Domenic Schettino said he would go next in the Wood.


Greater Good winner of the Rebel Stakes.
Oaklawn Park was the site for the Grade 3 Rebel Stakes, a 1 1/16 mile event for a $250,000 purse. Only six faced the starter in this prep, but three are considered top contenders for the Triple Crown. Afleet Alex was the 7-10 favorite over 3-2 Rockport Harbor and 9-2 Greater Good.

Greater Good was quickest out of the gate but jockey John McKee let him settle in as Stewart Elliott sent Rockport Harbor to the lead to set an honest pace of 24.00, 47.25, and 1:12.52 while as much as 3 1/2 lengths clear of the field. Afleet Alex settled in second and Greater Good sat back in third for the backstretch trip. Turning for home, John Velazquez asked the favorite for run but Afleet Alex had nothing and gave way to the field at the 3/16 pole, finishing last. Rockport Harbor held the lead at the stretch with 60-1 shot Batson Challenge trying to keep up, but in the final furlong, Greater Good came up along the outside and wore down Rockport Harbor to win by 1/2 a length in a time of 1:44.92. It was 2 3/4 length back to Batson Challenge in third. Winning trainer Bob Holthus said, "I've always felt that Greater Good was a good horse. Now, he might become a great horse."
Results Chart

John Servis, trainer of second place finisher Rockport Harbor, said, I've never been so happy about getting beat in my life. I'm ecstatic, tickled to death about my horse's performance. He ran great, and he'll really move forward from here."


Consolidator winner of the San Felipe Stakes.
The weekend of major prep races ends at Santa Anita, with the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. A field of eight hopefuls went to the gate here, with Roman Ruler sent off as the lukewarm 3-1 favorite over 7-2 second choice Don't Get Mad.

41-1 longshot Lucky J.H. and 7-1 Consolidator battled on the front end, through a half in 46.02 and 3/4 in 1:09.74, with 3.80-1 chance Giacomo stalking them the whole way. On the far turn, Lucky J.H. dropped out of contention, allowing Consolidator to inherit the lead and open by 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go. Under a strong hand ride, Consolidator drew away to win by 6 1/2 lengths over Giacomo in a time of 1:40.11. It was just a half-length back to Don't Get Mad in third. Favorite Roman Ruler was a bit awkward at the start, was wide throughout, gave way on the far turn and was eased in the stretch.
Results Chart

Winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "I got after him a little bit more. He's such a pretty horse and he fooled me a little bit. I think I overestimated his ability. I've been there before, I know what to do,' so I tried to correct it and I asked him to do a little more. His work tab was a lot more serious and I schooled him. I just did a poor job the first time. Having skipped to this bunch here today you wonder if you'd go anywhere, just stay here (for the Santa Anita Derby on April 9). The Blue Grass gives us an extra week and he has an affinity for that racetrack so a big plus. I like the extra week."

Mike Smith, aboard second place finisher Giacomo said, "He's running great. We needed that money (graded stakes earnings) to get in, that was the important thing. The track really didn't suit him today. I didn't want three of us to go head and head. I was going to hope that him (Consolidator) hooking the other horse (Lucky J.H.) was going to take something out of him. But the speed was winning all day. So I was happy to get the second."

2005 Kentucky Derby Prep Results

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