Sunday, March 26, 2000

Tough Trip in Bourbonette

Enquirer contributor

        It was a strange journey for Trip on her way to victory in the Bourbonette Stakes Saturday at Turfway Park.

        Coming out of the gate in the one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, Archer threw rider Robbie Albarado to the ground. Neither Albarado nor his mount was seriously hurt, but Asher kept running and caused some anxious moments.

        Willie Martinez, Trip's rider, said, “I was a little concerned going into the half-mile pole. The loose horse kept drifting out, and it's dangerous when there's a loose horse running with the field.

        “I had to commit myself (to the inside), but it worked out for the best. Coming around the turn (for home), I went to challenge Pat Day's horse (second-place finisher Lorie Darlin). She did the rest on her own. She finished very strong. She was really impressive.”

        Frank Brothers, Trip's train er, wasn't immediately ready to commit his horse to the Ashland Stakes, the logical next step toward the Kentucky Oaks for fillies on Derby Day.

        “Let's just enjoy this one for a while,” Brothers said. “I'll talk with Mr. (Seth) Hancock and we'll decide where to go next. She's very talented. We just have to hope now that she has a future.”

        In the Rushaway Stakes, Graeme Hall and Valiant Style hooked up in a classic stretch duel only to have California trainer Vladimir Cerin's Ronton drive by them both in the final strides and win. Ronton, ridden by Garrett Gomez, nipped Graeme Hall by a nose.

        Gomez said, “At the three-eighths pole I asked him to run. I thought the winner was gone. For a while I didn't think I'd get there. '“But he kicked in and he caught him in the last jumps. The first thing I told Vladimir after I got off was that this horse has a lot more talent than shows on paper.”

        Earlier, trainer Bernie Flint and jockey Pat Day batted .500 with two odds-on stakes favorites. They won the Queen Stakes easily with Hurricane Bertie, but finished third to California invader Caller One and Barrier with Ultimate Warrior in the Hansel Stakes.

        Odds-on favorite Hurricane Bertie easily won the $60,000 Queen under a hand ride by Day. The five-year-old chestnut beat Strawberry Way by two lengths over six furlongs in 1:10.50. Hurricane Bertie's success is “like winning a small lottery,” Flint said. “I thank God for her every day. She came from obscurity to be one of the best sprinters in the country. She's exceptional, a filly who can run that hard and able to do it again and again.”

        In the Hansel, Ultimate Warrior stumbled coming out of the gate, but Day didn't think it mattered. “I think we were probably second best,” he said. “With the way that winner was running, we had to spot him too much of a lead.”


        Caller One's clocking of 1:08 2/5 clockng was 1/5 of a second off the track record of 1:08 2/5 set by Appealing Skier in 1996. Flint said: “Ultimate Warrior just ran into a very fast horse. Do yuou you know what kind of horse it takes to beat him? It takes a super horse. That was a super horse.”

        “My horse was the only one who attempted to make a run at him. Nobody else could.”

        ×xledein REBEL STAKES: Snuck In, making his first start of the year, beat Big Numbers by a neck in the $100,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in the last big prep for the Arkansas Derby at Hot Springs, Ark.

        “He's a very laid-back horse in the morning until he gets some competition,” said winning jockey Cash Asmussen, brother of Steve Asmussen. “Then, he's a tiger. Steve's got him slowed down in the morning.”

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