TRIPLE CROWN RATINGS
Career Horse S 1 2 3 Earnings 1. Chief's Crown 11 7 3 0 $1,001,682 2. Proud Truth 7 6 0 0 $475,197 3. Rhoman Rule 7 3 1 1 $153,848 4. Steph. Odyssey 7 3 1 1 $704,860 5. Spend a Buck 10 6 2 2 $823,409 6. Banner Bob 11 6 3 1 $415,851 7. Irish Sur 14 4 2 4 $582,795 8. Skywalker 6 3 1 0 $330,700 9. Clever Allemont 6 6 0 0 $164,096 10. Fast Account 11 2 5 1 $132,550
REMARKS: Of the three 3-year-olds that won important stakes races last weekend, Spend a Buck's 10-length victory in the Cherry Hill Mile at Garden State Park was the most impressive.
Spend a Buck's win indicated that the colt may be regaining the form that resulted in his being voted the third-best 2-year-old in the country last year, behind Chief's Crown and Saratoga Six.
Spend a Buck may have run in the $1-million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Stakes last November with a bone chip in his knee, but he still finished third behind Chief's Crown and Tank's Prospect. After a knee operation in November, he didn't run again until March 23, finishing a creditable third in the Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct.
That was his only start this year before the win in the Cherry Hill. "He's bigger and stronger than he was last season, and we expect him to have a big year," trainer Cam Gambolati said.
Spend a Buck is scheduled to run in the Garden State Stakes April 20, which is the same day as three other Kentucky Derby preps--the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields.
Eternal Prince, upset winner of Saturday's Gotham Stakes, will run next in either the Garden State or the Wood. More definite for the Wood are Proud Truth, first in the Florida Derby and winner by disqualification of the Flamingo Stakes; Pancho Villa and El Basco, who ran second and third to Eternal Prince Saturday; and Rhoman Rule.
Pancho Villa finished five lengths behind Eternal Prince in the Gotham, but breaking from the inside post position didn't help. In the previous race, the Bay Shore, Pancho Villa was the winner and Eternal Prince, coming out of the No. 1 post, ran sixth.
Although Skywalker won the Santa Anita Derby Saturday, trainer Mike Whittingham says he doesn't have a commitment from jockey Laffit Pincay for the Kentucky Derby May 4, which is likely to be Skywalker's next start. Pincay, who won his first Derby in 11 tries with Swale last year, may have a chance to ride Stephan's Odyssey, because the owner of that colt, Henryk de Kwiatkowski, was unhappy that jockey Eddie Maple didn't claim a foul after running third in the Flamingo. Pincay has done quite well with Maple's leavings in the last three years--he won the Derby and the Belmont with Swale and won two more Belmonts with Conquistador Cielo and Caveat.
Stephan's Odyssey may run a week from today in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.
A breathing problem has been blamed for Tank's Prospect's last-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby. A team of veterinarians will attempt to split a membrane in one of the colt's nostrils Wednesday. Dr. Greg Ferraro is confident that can be accomplished, thereby enabling Tank's Prospect to run in one of the April 20 races or in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland April 25.
Wayne Lukas, who trains Pancho Villa and Tank's Prospect, said that another of his 3-year-olds, Image of Greatness, removed himself from the Derby picture with an eighth-place finish in the Cherry Hill. The Cherry Hill was the third stakes start at a third different track in three weeks for Image of Greatness.
Florida state racing officials will hear protests today from the owners of Chief's Crown and Stephan's Odyssey regarding the stewards' decision after the running of the Flamingo. Chief's Crown, who finished first, was moved back to second for interfering with Proud Truth, who ran second. De Kwiatkowski thought Stephan's Odyssey, the third-place finisher, had been bothered by Proud Truth during the stretch run.
Advisory panel for The Times' Triple Crown Ratings: Lenny Hale, racing secretary at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga; Frank (Jimmy) Kilroe, vice president for racing at Santa Anita; and Tommy Trotter, director of racing at Arlington Park and racing secretary at Gulfstream Park.