Saturday, March 24, 2001

Derby hopefuls race at Turfway

By George Rorrer
Enquirer contributor

        Now is the time, W. Elliott Walden says, for serious Kentucky Derby contenders to stand up and be counted.

        The trainer hopes he has one of them in Meetyouathebrig, a big, erratic colt named for a pub in Del Mar, Calif., called the Brigantine.

        Meetyouathebrig will get a chance to prove himself today at Turfway Park in the 30th Spiral Stakes, a $600,000, 1-mile race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds.

        Buckle Down Ben, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, is a narrow 5-2 morning line favorite over Meetyouathebrig (3-1).

        Walden said he agrees with rankings that list Point Given, Monarchos and Dollar Bill 1-2-3 in the Triple Crown polls. “They're strong,” he said. “But after that, it's wide open. Horses need to move forward at this time.”

        For Meetyouathebrig, it has been a case of move forward, then move back. The long-striding, lanky colt (17.2 hands, or 70 inches, tall) broke his maiden at Hollywood Park in his first career start last May. But since then, he has finished fourth, won, finished sixth, won, and finished eighth.

        “He either wins or throws in a bad one,” Walden said.

        On Sept.15 after the colt won the Beau Brummel Stakes at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Calif., Walden bought him for the Mamsell Stable of Frank Mamsell and James Stone. When Meetyouathebrig met them in Kentucky, he ran a sixth-place clunker at Keeneland in the Lane's End Farm Breeders' Futurity.

        Meetyouathebrig next won the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs on the Nov.4 Breeders' Cup card and stamped himself as a Derby possibility. But Feb.17, the colt finished eighth in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

        Meetyouathebrig has trained well since that race, Walden said. “He has only run once this year,” the trainer said. “We've got plenty of time to make it up.”

        Walden also trains 15-1 shot Camden Park, a son of A P Indy who drew the No. 7 post position.

        UNDERCARD: Pat Day will ride the favorites in three of four other stakes races on today's card (gates open at 10 a.m.; first post time is noon; Spiral is the 10th of 12 races, post time 4:40 p.m. ESPN will televise from 4-5 p.m.). In the Queen, Day will ride Lukas-trained 8-5 choice Katz Me If You Can. In the Hansel Stakes, Day will ride Dallas Stewart-trained Kazoo, a 5-2 pick. In the Bourbonette Breeders' Cup, Day Will ride Stewart-trained 2-1 choice Sweet Nanette. In the Rushaway, Robbie Davis will ride 9-5 favorite Percy Hope, trained by Anthony I. Reinstedler, and John Velazquez will be on Lukas-trained 7-2 second choice High Cascade.


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