E.P. Taylor Stakes
Cup & Saucer
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic
Zenyatta Stakes Day
Awesome Again Stakes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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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