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The Kentucky Derby: The Horses

May 02, 1987|BILL CHRISTINE | Times Staff Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Here are thumbnail sketches of the 17 horses that will run today at Churchill Downs in the 113th Kentucky Derby. They are listed in post-position order. CRYPTOCLEARANCE: His name could also be Consistency. In five starts this year, all in Florida, he has been either first or second, and in the two races he didn't win, he was beaten by only half a length. His jockey is Jose Santos, last year's money leader and a rider who rivaled Pat Day for being the most in demand by Derby trainers this year. WAR: Although he was the third-best horse that day, he won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last week, thanks to the disqualification of Alysheba. After not being regarded as anything special through eight races in California, he has come to life in Kentucky, winning twice and running second in three starts at Keeneland. The Derby will be his fourth race in a month. ALYSHEBA: The disqualified winner of the Blue Grass, this son of Alydar, the runner-up to Affirmed in all three 1978 Triple Crown races, is a money-making machine even though he seldom wins. He has earned $423,000 and his only win in 10 starts was against maidens last September at Turfway Park, a small track 100 miles northeast of Louisville. TEMPLAR HILL: Part of the three-horse mutuel field, along with Avies Copy and Momentus, which indicates that the track handicapper doesn't think much of his chances. A son of Temperence Hill, the 1980 Belmont winner, Templar Hill was a $13,500 yearling. A Maryland horse, the colt has never beaten anyone of the caliber he'll face in the Derby. CAPOTE: Last year's champion 2-year-old colt, this son of Seattle Slew cost $800,000 as a yearling and would be the most expensive publicly sold horse to win the Derby. Both of his races this year: fourth-place finishes in the Gotham and the Wood Memorial. GULCH: The rap that he was nothing more than a miler was dashed when he won the 1 1/8-mile Wood two weeks ago. That win, while he was carrying 126 pounds, gives him the distinction of being the only starter who has already won under Derby weight. Trainer LeRoy Jolley has been trying to get Gulch to relax in the early parts of his races, and no jockey is better at that with a horse than Bill Shoemaker, who's riding him for the first time. MASTERFUL ADVOCATE: Probably the Derby horse with the biggest appetite since he arrived at Churchill Downs. He was eating his own stall bedding until trainer Joe Manzi had the straw replaced with wood shavings. After winning three stakes this year, he ran a bad second to Temperate Sil in the Santa Anita Derby and that performance has stigmatized him. LEO CASTELLI: After not running up to his potential in Florida early this year, he would have won the Blue Grass but for interference by Alysheba. Jacinto Vasquez, who won the Derby with Foolish Pleasure in 1975 and Genuine Risk in 1980, is riding him for the first time. ON THE LINE: The weakest link of trainer Wayne Lukas' three-horse entry, On the Line wouldn't be running if he hadn't won the one-mile Derby Trial at Churchill Downs last Saturday. A $150,000 yearling purchase, On the Line's only previous wins were against maidens last October at Santa Anita and in an allowance race a month ago at Oaklawn Park. Missed three months of training because of a hoof injury. DEMONS BEGONE: He's been perfect this year: three wins in three starts at Oaklawn Park, but the horses he beat were mediocre. The same might be said, however, for the horses Masterful Advocate has been beating in California. Demons Begone is racing for an extra $1 million today: an Oaklawn bonus for winning two of its stakes and the Derby. His jockey is Pat Day, who has won many big races, but never a Derby. MOMENTUS: If the race went to the most courageous, Momentus would demolish the field. His head seems to be back together after he literally ran through the eighth pole last September at Hawthorne near Chicago. Emergency surgery followed. He hasn't won outside California. CANDI'S GOLD: With only five starts, he's the most lightly raced horse in the field. Trained by Eddie Gregson, whose only other Derby appearance was with Gato Del Sol, a shocking winner at 21-1 in 1982. In his only stakes start, he couldn't beat War at Keeneland three weeks ago. SHAWKLIT WON: Considered a strong finisher, he's from the first crop by Air Forbes Won, the undefeated favorite who finished seventh in the 1982 Derby. Shawklit Won finished behind Gulch in two of three meetings this year at Aqueduct and hasn't won a race since last July. BET TWICE: Has failed to win any of his last three big races. He was third in the Champagne and fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year, and fifth in the Florida Derby a month ago. Before his puzzling Florida Derby race, Bet Twice was considered the best 3-year-old training in Florida. CONQUISTAROSE: Despite regal breeding: Belmont winner and 1982 horse of the year Conquistador Cielo and Kentucky Oaks winner De La Rose, this colt has been no better than fifth in his last three starts. An off track would help his chances. AVIES COPY: After finishing last in the Blue Grass, he is in the Derby as an afterthought. Ran fourth in the Florida Derby at 99-1. Will be ridden by Mickey Solomone for the first time. NO MORE FLOWERS: Missed holding off Cryptoclearance by just a head in the Florida Derby, then ran a poor second, 6 1/2 lengths behind On the Line, as the heavy favorite in the Derby Trial. Which horse will he be today? Breaking from the horrible outside post, he could run back to his Florida form and still not win. THE FIELD

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