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Triple Crown Ratings

April 16, 1985|BILL CHRISTINE

Career Horse S 1 2 3 Earnings 1. Chief's Crown 11 8 2 0 $1,101,682 2. Proud Truth 7 5 1 0 $375,197 3. Rhoman Rule 7 3 1 1 $153,848 4. Stephan's 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: Although Rhoman Rule has won only one stakes race, the 3-year-old colt is gaining support for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4.

After he won the Santa Anita Derby with Skywalker on April 6, jockey Laffit Pincay said he felt Rhoman Rule was the horse to beat in the Kentucky Derby. And Santa Anita's Frank (Jimmy) Kilroe shares that opinion.

"Rhoman Rule ran an awfully big race in winning the Everglades at Hialeah," Kilroe said.

The Everglades was an eight-length win for Rhoman Rule, who ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 4/5.

There are different ways of assessing the Everglades. Rhoman Rule's time was much better than the 1:50 Proud Truth posted in winning the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park two weeks before.

But Rhoman Rule was carrying only 112 pounds in the Everglades, 14 less than he'll have to pack in the Derby, and with no speed in the race he was allowed to coast to a leisurely early lead. Still, Rhoman Rule's fractions indicate that he has the kind of finishing kick that's needed in the 1-mile Derby.

Six of the horses in the top 10 will be running this week, and Rhoman Rule's appearance in the Wood Memorial Saturday at Aqueduct will be his toughest assignment, because Proud Truth is also in the field. The Wood starters will be carrying Derby weight of 126 pounds over 1 1/8 miles.

"I don't know if Rhoman Rule is the horse to beat in the Derby, but I think he's the horse to beat in the Wood," says Aqueduct's Lenny Hale. "He's a much-improved horse over last year, and although he hasn't run much, what running he's done has been impressive."

Chief's Crown, who heads the top 10, is scheduled to make his final pre-Derby start in the Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 25, but other Derby candidates will be busy this week on these fronts:

At Keeneland today, Stephan's Odyssey runs in the 1 1/16-mile Lexington Stakes, with Pincay riding him for the first time since they won an allowance race at Hollywood Park last December. Woody Stephens, who trains Stephan's Odyssey, sent Swale out to a second-place finish in last year's Lexington and then the colt came back to win the Derby. "Not only that," Stephens said, "I don't like the Blue Grass Stakes that much. Every time I've run a horse in the Blue Grass, he's never come back to do much in the Derby."

At Oaklawn Park Saturday, undefeated Clever Allemont runs in the Arkansas Derby, seeking his seventh straight victory. Pat Day continues to ride Clever Allemont, but other contenders will have new riders, Chris McCarron taking over on Louisiana Derby winner Violado and Gary Stevens handling Tank's Prospect, who successfully underwent minor surgery last week for nasal blockage that was listed as a reason for his last-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby.

At Garden State Park Saturday night, Spend a Buck will be favored in the Garden State Stakes. Among his rivals will be Irish Sur, who's been unsuccessfully chasing the better horses in Florida after winning the Tropical Park Derby at Calder early in the year.

At Golden Gate Fields Saturday, Protect Yourself runs in the California Derby, trying to best some of the horses he beat in the March 30 Gold Rush Stakes as well as some of the trailers in the Santa Anita Derby.

Both owner Fred Hooper and Ross Fenstermaker, who trains Protect Yourself, are not eager to send their horse to the Kentucky Derby. The 87-year-old Hooper usually watches his horses run in big races, but says he won't be at Golden Gate.

"The Kentucky Derby's a tough, grueling race," Fenstermaker says. "The only way you should take a horse there is if you think you can run first, second or third, and I don't think this colt is that good of a horse yet."

But Hooper won the Derby in 1945 with Hoop Jr., the first horse he ever owned, and if Protect Yourself would win Saturday, the temptation would be great to go back and attempt a 40th-anniversary encore.

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.

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