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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Baffert Not Real Quiet About Indian Charlie

April 01, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

Although he didn't win the Triple Crown, Silver Charm completed an unprecedented double Saturday by becoming the first horse with victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Dubai World Cup.

Asked this week if he believes that can be duplicated in the near future, Silver Charm's trainer, Bob Baffert, didn't hesitate before answering, "Indian Charlie."

Of the four horses considered serious contenders in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby, the deepest of the Kentucky Derby prep races, Baffert has two, Indian Charlie and Real Quiet.

He said he thinks more of both than he did eventual Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm at this point last year.

Of the two, he talks more about Indian Charlie.

That doesn't necessarily mean anything. Perhaps he's real quiet about Real Quiet because he's trying to sneak him past the other contenders, Randy Bradshaw's Artax and Wally Dollase's Orville N Wilbur's.

Even though he's undefeated, Indian Charlie is suspect because he has run only three races.

"Will Indian Charlie falter when he gets eyeballed from gate to wire?" asks Kent Desormeaux, who rides Real Quiet.

That's a good question. But I have studied this race as scientifically as I know how and have concluded that Indian Charlie will win because he's named after a sportswriter, sort of.

Indian Charlie is the nom de plume of Ed Musselman, who writes an irreverent newsletter that circulates among the barns on Churchill Downs' backside.

In a recent issue, he wrote that trainer Nick Zito got his "ass spanked" in a race, then added he was referring not to the man but to the horse.

Baffert has been the target of equally inoffensive barbs and delivered on his promise to name a potential Triple Crown horse after Indian Charlie.

"He's good, as long as you don't take him seriously," Baffert said.

Not all trainers, however, have been treated as gently. They'd like nothing better than to beat Indian Charlie.

They're referring not to the horse but to the man.

*

Now that Billy Ashley's $450,000 has been eliminated from the payroll, the Dodgers should explore a deal for Florida's Jim Eisenreich. . . .

For only $1 million more, he would provide a solid left-handed bat off the bench as well as depth in the outfield and at first base. . . .

As a Dodger, he also would be unable to beat the Dodgers. . . .

With the Marlins last season and the Phillies before that, he hit like Tony Gwynn in Dodger Stadium. . . .

Every time the Angels try to trade for a quality starting pitcher, the price is Darin Erstad, Garret Anderson or Jim Edmonds. . . .

How, you ask, did Cleveland get Dave Burba from Cincinnati for a prospect? . . .

The prospect was first baseman Sean Casey, who led the NCAA in hitting at Richmond in 1995 and hit .380 with 15 home runs and 84 RBIs in the minor leagues last season. . . .

Other teams might do business with the Angels if they had prospects like that. . . .

The last time Ohio State sent its track team to Los Angeles, Jesse Owens almost beat USC single-handedly in a dual meet by winning the 100 yards, the 220, the 220 high hurdles and the long jump. . . .

"He won four first places from the greatest track team in the country, and he won them so easily that it was hard to believe what you had just seen," Times sports editor Bill Henry wrote on that day in 1935. . . .

The Buckeyes will be back Saturday, competing in a four-way meet at USC's Cromwell Field against the Trojans, Arizona and Michigan. . . .

Also at USC on "Super Saturday," the No. 2 Trojans play No. 1 Stanford in baseball, the Trojan women's tennis team meets defending national champion Stanford and $15 buys admission into a barbecue and spring football practice. . . .

Paul Hackett had all five of his quarterbacks at last Saturday's opening practice. . . .

Veterans John Fox, Mike Van Raaphorst and Quincy Woods were on the field. . . .

Incoming freshmen Jason Thomas and Carson Palmer watched from the sideline. . . .

Perhaps Kansas junior Paul Pierce of Inglewood is waiting to announce he's turning pro until he comes home for the 22nd annual John R. Wooden Award ceremony Friday at the L.A. Athletic Club. . . .

North Carolina's Antawn Jamison is favored among finalists Pierce and Raef LaFrentz of Kansas, and Miles Simon and Mike Bibby of Arizona. . . .

Al Unser Jr., here for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, will throw out the first pitch at the Angels' game Thursday night against the Yankees. . . .

He reports that his dad, Al Sr., continues to dominate the family's snowmobile race each winter at their New Mexico ranch. . . .

Funny thing. When they tell Bobby to get lost, he does.

*

While wondering how Rupert Murdoch likes his team so far, I was thinking: Ramon Martinez must not have been thinking when he walked Delino DeShields to load the bases for Mark McGwire, McGwire is not doing a good job of discouraging questions about Roger Maris' record, I hope El Nino was notified to clear out during baseball season.

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