Friday, May 03, 2002

Kentucky Derby notebook

Quarantine hurdle cleared for Castle Gandolfo, Johannesburg

The Associated Press

Carlos Rivera, from Houston, Texas, reads the newspaper while watching morning workouts at Churchill Downs Thursday.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        LOUISVILLE — Johannesburg and Castle Gandolfo, the Irish-based Kentucky Derby contenders, cleared quarantine at Keeneland on Thursday and will work at the track on Friday, trainer Aidan O'Brien said.

        The duo arrived in Kentucky on Tuesday. Churchill Downs does not have a quarantine barn, so the horses had to use the one at the Lexington track, about 70 miles from Louisville.

        The horses were scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs by van Saturday.

        O'Brien has the flu and is still in Ireland. Assistant Pat Keating has been handling the horses in Lexington.

        Johannesburg, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion, was the third selection in the Derby's morning line, at 6-1. Castle Gandolfo is 20-1.

        ROOKIES: Jockeys Rene Douglas, Glenn Corbett and Eddie Martin, Jr. will make their first Derby starts aboard Wild Horses, Lusty Latin and It'sallinthechase.

        The last first-time rider to win the Derby was Ronnie Franklin, aboard Spectacular Bid in 1979. Franklin never rode in the Derby again.

        PERFECTLY CONTENT: Perfect Drift will arrive at Churchill Downs Saturday morning after a short drive from Trackside, where he has been training for the Derby for six weeks.

        Trackside is a one-time harness track, and trainer Murray Johnson said it has been the ideal place to train his Spiral Stakes winner.

        Perfect Drift, a 15-1 morning-line selection, galloped 1 1/2 miles Thursday morning, just before a thunderstorm struck the Louisville area.

        “We just beat the rain,” said Johnson. “He was very sharp.”

        Eddie Delahoussaye will ride Perfect Drift in search of his third Derby victory.

        COUGH DROPS: Trainer Bobby Frankel said Thursday that Medaglia d'Oro's coughing attack earlier in the week wasn't a major health concern.

        The Edmund Gann-owned colt worked 6 furlongs Monday, then coughed “four or five times” as he was being led back to his barn, Frankel said.

        The horse's guttural pouch was flushed and he hasn't coughed since, Frankel said.

        “It wasn't that big of a deal, especially because we found it early in the week,” Frankel said. “If I'm a day or two in front of the race and it happens, then I have a problem.”
       NO RELIGIOUS CONFLICT: Jockey Pat Day is a devout Christian who says he thanks God after every victory.

        That apparently won't change Saturday, even if Buddha gives Day his second Kentucky Derby victory.

        “Pat told me he'll thank God for Buddha,” said the gray colt's trainer, H. James Bond.

        INK APPEARS: Invisible Ink, the 2001 Kentucky Derby runner-up, won a 11/16-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs on Thursday.

        With John Velazquez aboard, Invisible Ink came from behind on a sloppy track to earn a half-length victory in the fifth race on the card.

        Velazquez also rode the Todd Pletcher-trained son of Thunder Gulch in the Derby.


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