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With just 4 weeks to go before the Run for the Roses, Triple Crown hopefuls will be competing in their final preps over the next two weeks, tuning up for the big event and also hoping to pad their graded stakes earnings to ensure they get into the Kentucky Derby field. The two major prep races this weekend are both Grade 1, $750,000 events at 1 1/8 miles. The Wood Memorial and Bay Shore Stakes are covered in detail here along with the Carter Handicap which was also on the card at Aqueduct.
Buzzards Bay winner of the Santa Anita Derby.
77-1 longshot Customer was quickest out of the gate and got the initial quarter in 23.60, before 30-1 shot Buzzards Bay joined the front and led the field down the backstretch through a half in 47.32 and 3/4 in 1:11.34, with 65-1 shot General John B also in the fray. Jockey Frankie Dettori kept Wilko in a stalking position in fourth, while Giacomo and Sweet Catomine tracked in mid-pack in seventh. Turning for home, the field bunched up as Buzzards Bay hung on to a short lead. General John B fought on through the stretch run, as Dettori angled Wilko to the outside and rallied three-wide. Sweet Catomine was blocked behind a wall of horses around the turn, and when asked by Corey Nakatani, did not have her usual late kick. Buzzards Bay held off General John B by 1/2 a length at the line, lighting up the toteboard with a $62.20 win payoff and a $751.40 exacta. The final time was 1:49.18 over a fast track. General John B just held off the late charge of Wilko by a nose, with Giacomo another 1 1/2 lengths back in fourth. It was 3 more lengths back to Sweet Catomine in fifth.
A close finish in the Santa Anita Derby with Buzzards Bay followed by General John B. (inside) and Wilko.
Winning jockey Mark Guidry said, "He was training real good up to the race. He's been as good as you could want a horse, and he loves this racetrack. It was a rush, man, because I knew they were coming at me from both sides, and he's a fighter. He dug in and every time I'd ask him he was answering. I love his chances (in the Kentucky Derby). I could be on the lead, but today it was slow paced and everything. He's a very useful little horse. And hopefully he'll come back good and be able to run there."
Winning trainer Jeff Mullins said, "I'll tell you what. I've never had a horse come into this race this good."
Jon Court, aboard second place finisher General John B said, "He ran huge. Not to my surprise. Actually, I was surprised he got beat. He ran big, and I'm just looking forward to the next spot, the next town. I'd love to be back in the Bluegrass State. I can't wait. You're always looking for that Derby mount. We'll see what General John B can do from here."
Craig Dollase, trainer of third place finisher Wilko said, "We were happy with that. Frankie (Dettori) thought he might be a race away but this ought to set him up real well for the Big Dance. If he comes back good and everything looks good with the footwork we're on our way. I was pleased with his effort. He ran a courageous race, he just came up a little short."
Martin Wygod, owner of beaten favorite Sweet Catomine, said, "I didn't think she was boxed in. The hole was wide enough for her to run through. I was 50-50 about running her. I was thinking about scratching her after her last work when she went :59 1/5. She bled out of that work. We sent her to Alamo Pintado (Equine Medical Center) and treated her and brought her back. She had a little (foot problem) on Wednesday. In my heart I felt not to run but yesterday we made up our mind. She's not going to the (Kentucky) Oaks or the Derby. I can't say what's next for her. We have to scope her after this race and see how she is. Yes, she will run again. Corey (Nakatani) said she was very dull. We gave her drugs to prevent bleeding. This was the only prep race for her before the Derby."
Greely's Galazy winner of the Illinois Derby.
21-1 sot Daddy Joe set the early pace under jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. through a half in 46.50 and 3/4 in 1:11.59 on the fast track, with Kansas City Boy pressing the pace three paths off the rail and the favorite saving ground around the first turn and then angling out for room for the backstretch trip. Turning for home, Kent Desormeaux asked Greeley's Galaxy for run and got it, as he blasted clear by 5 lengths at the 1/8 pole and drew away to a 9 1/2 length win over 9-2 late rallier Monarch Lane in a time of 1:49.62. It was 2 lengths back to 9-2 Magna Graduate in third. Kansas City Boy tired at the top of the stretch and finished last.
Winning owner B. Wayne Hughes indicated that he would pay the $200,000 supplement to get Greeley's Galaxy in the Kentucky Derby. He said on the NBC broadcast, "If we can get in, we will."
Winning jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "Mr. Stute has done a great job with him," the jockey said. "He rates with experience for as many times as he has been out there. He has got a great mind. Mr. Stute has done a great job with him in the mornings teaching him everything he needs to do out here in the afternoon."
2005 Kentucky Derby Prep Results
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