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McCarron's Road to Derby Is Rocked

Horse racing: He suffers broken ribs in spill and his mount, Inexcessivelygood, is destroyed after breaking down in stretch of Jim Beam Stakes. Concerto wins race.

March 30, 1997|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Chris McCarron, who has ridden Kentucky Derby winners twice in the last 10 years, may not be making a Run for the Roses on May 3.

McCarron suffered three broken ribs Saturday after he was thrown from his mount Inexcessivelygood, who broke down in the stretch of the Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

Inexcessivelygood, owned by Mike Pegram and trained by Bob Baffert, suffered a compound fracture of his right front ankle and had to be destroyed.

McCarron was to stay overnight for observation at a nearby hospital and is expected to return to Southern California today.

Inexcessivelygood, a second-place finisher in the San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita on March 2, was a candidate to take McCarron back to the Kentucky Derby.

The Baffert-trained Cavonnier, ridden by McCarron, lost by a nose to Grindstone in last year's Derby.

McCarron is also the rider for Hello, who is expected to run in the Santa Anita Derby next Saturday.

McCarron is the second high-profile Southern California jockey to be injured this week. Laffit Pincay suffered three broken ribs in a spill Wednesday at Santa Anita. Pincay's status for the Kentucky Derby is also uncertain.

With owner George Steinbrenner in attendance, favored Concerto won for the fourth consecutive time with a 2 1/2-length victory in the Jim Beam.

In earning $360,000 of the $600,000 purse, Concerto covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 1/5 under Carlos Marques Jr.

Jack Flash got up to defeat Shammy Davis by half a length for second. Funontherun, the other Southern California-based horse in the field, finished sixth as the 4-1 second choice.

The Kentucky Derby is the next race for Concerto, a son of Chief's Crown who has six victories in nine starts.

*

Smokin Mel, recently purchased for $150,000 by owners Ed Wachtel and Sidney Port, earned 80% of that back with a 15-1 upset victory in the $200,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in Jamaica, N.Y.

The gray son of Phone Trick, racing on Lasix for the first time, sat well off blazing early fractions set by American Champ, took the lead with a quarter of a mile to run, and turned back a stretch-long challenge from Wild Wonder to win by half a length in 1:34 1/5 for the mile.

Ordway, the 5-2 favorite, got up in the final yards to defeat Wild Wonder by a neck for second.

Smokin Mel won two of his six starts for original owner Annabelle Stute, wife of trainer Mel Stute.

He was purchased with the Gotham in mind, according to trainer John DeStefano Jr.

Deeds Not Words, making his first start since last Aug. 21 for trainer Wayne Lukas, was a distant fourth, seven lengths behind Wild Wonder.

Horse Racing Notes

Radu Cool led every step of the way at odds of 6-1 and won the $79,160 Santa Lucia Handicap at Santa Anita. Rene Douglas rode the winner for 505 Farms and trainer John Shirreffs. . . . Always A Classic won the $219,950 Explosive Bid Handicap at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, defeating favored Rainbow Blues, ridden by Gary Stevens, by four lengths. . . . Nine three-year-olds are still considered at least probable for the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby. Free House and Silver Charm, who finished 1-2 in the recent San Felipe Stakes, head the list of probables which includes Bagshot, Classic Credential, Effect, Hello, Sharp Cat, Steel Ruhlr and Swiss Yodeler. King Crimson is more likely to go in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 12, while P.T. Indy's status is unknown.

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