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Trust N Luck Gets Decisive Win

February 16, 2003|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Making his first start at a track other than Calder, Trust N Luck had little trouble with his seven opponents in the $200,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

In the final major prep for next month's Florida Derby, the son of Montbrook went right to the front under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, disposed of Midway Cat and Offlee Wild into the stretch and went on to a decisive victory.

Winning for the fifth time in nine starts, Trust N Luck, who is owned by Einar Robsham and trained by Ralph Ziadie, completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 1/5 while beating 33-1 shot Supah Blitz by 5 1/4 lengths.

Making his first start since he won the What A Pleasure by 11 lengths on Dec. 14, the 9-2 fourth choice got away with relatively moderate fractions (23 3/5, 46 3/5 and 1:10 4/5 for six furlongs) and is now perfect in three route starts when he has been able to make the lead.

"I wasn't surprised he made the lead," said Ziadie. "I thought he was the controlling speed. He's got natural speed, and I don't think he will have trouble going farther.

"I don't think he has to be in front. I think he'll be able to come from off the pace. Our plans are to run in the Florida Derby [on March 15] and then go on to the Kentucky Derby if he's good enough.

"One of my goals when I started training was that I wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby. But I wouldn't go to the Derby just to go. I wanted to have a horse that could win it, and I still think that way."

Offlee Wild, who had won the Holy Bull at 27-1 on Jan. 18, was a no-excuse fourth at 7-2 on Saturday, but he did run better than Whywhywhy and Ten Cents A Shine.

Making his first start since he finished 10th of 13 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 26, Whywhywhy was a distant fifth at 7-2. He may simply need one turn for his best effort and doesn't seem a legitimate Kentucky Derby candidate.

Brought back in a little more than two weeks after winning in a dead heat in his 3-year-old bow, Ten Cents A Shine, the 5-2 favorite, never mounted a rally under jockey Jerry Bailey. He finished sixth, beating only Conservation and Ozzie Cat.

"He trained up to the race really well," trainer Ken McPeek said of the public choice. "I don't know what happened out there. Jerry said he quit running at the half-mile pole. We'll take a close look at him to see if we can find anything."


Two races before the Fountain of Youth, Lion Tamer earned himself a start in a Derby somewhere with a six-length win over Strength Within and four others in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes.

The 13-10 favorite under jockey John Velasquez, Lion Tamer won for the third time in four starts for owner Michael Tabor and trainer Todd Pletcher. He completed the seven furlongs in 1:22 3/5 and he'll get his first distance test in his next start.

Pletcher indicated he could run either in the Louisiana Derby on March 9 at the Fair Grounds or the Florida Derby.

"This horse has shown brilliance at times," said Pletcher. "Whenever you step them up you hope for the best. It looks like he may be a special horse and we'll have to stretch him out now."

Scrimshaw, the 2-1 second choice who had won two of three in California for trainer Wayne Lukas, was fourth, 10 1/2 lengths behind the winner.


The Tin Man won the way a 1-2 shot should, dominating his four overmatched rivals in the $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap at Santa Anita.

Winning for the sixth time in nine starts on the local turf course, the 5-year-old Affirmed gelding went right to the front under jockey Mike Smith, set a dawdling pace and was never challenged.

At the finish, he had 9 1/2 lengths on runner-up Special Matter and completed the 1 1/2 miles over a yielding course in 2:31 1/5.

"He's such a cool horse," said Smith after his first stakes win of the meet. "He really loves what he does. He was just galloping out there, having fun."


Bad weather canceled racing at Laurel on Saturday, so the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap was rescheduled for Monday.

The seven-furlong race, which was to feature a showdown between Xtra Heat, Carson Hollow and Zonk, will be part of a card that also includes the $200,000 General George Handicap.


Rick Hammerle, who had been serving as Santa Anita's assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator since 2000, has been promoted to racing secretary. Mike Harlow, who had the job previously, retains his position as director of racing.

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