Monday, April 26, 2004

Castledale, St Averil committed to Derby

Eddington, Rock Hard Ten on the outside looking in

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Castledale and St Averil will be part of the 20-horse field for the 130th Kentucky Derby.

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The horses will share a flight from California today. Both worked Saturday, running six furlongs in the identical time of 1:11.80.

St Averil, who won the Santa Catalina Stakes, has had foot problems and wore a special shoe when he worked out.

Jeff Mullins, who trains Santa Anita Derby winner Castledale, and St Averil's trainer Rafael Becerra each decided Sunday that their horses would run.

That leaves Eddington and Rock Hard Ten on the bubble to get into the Derby. The field is limited to the 20 horses who've won the most money in graded stakes races.

Pro Prado is 20th on the list, with earnings of $105,685.

Eddington is 21st with $95,000 and Rock Hard Ten is 22nd with $90,000. Two more horses would need to drop out before Wednesday's draw for both of them to get in. Eddington is waiting at New York's Belmont Park to see if he gets in; Rock Hard Ten is scheduled to work out Monday at Churchill Downs.

SPECTACULAR 25TH: It's the 25th anniversary of Spectacular Bid's Kentucky Derby victory.

Trainer Bud Delp and jockey Ronnie Franklin spent two hours signing autographs for a long line of fans at Churchill Downs on Sunday. Spectacular Bid won the 1979 Derby and Preakness, but failed to win the Triple Crown when he finished third in the Belmont Stakes.

The gray colt's Triple Crown pursuit was the defining moment in the careers of Delp and Franklin, who was an inexperienced 19-year-old when fame found him.

Delp, 70, is still training in Maryland and was elected to racing's hall of fame in 2002.

Franklin, 44, does brick work for a friend's construction company near his hometown of Dundalk, Md. His riding career was marred by drug problems.

Franklin said he's been sober for two years, and his worst vice is cigarettes.

"I'm an addict, but I'm recovering now," he said.

The morning of the 1979 Belmont, Delp found a safety pin in Spectacular Bid's hoof. It caused an infection serious enough to threaten the horse's life. Delp blamed Bid's loss on the safety pin and Franklin misjudging the pace in the 1 1/2-mile race.

"I was nervous," Franklin said. "I'm probably harder on myself than anybody. Mr. Delp was like a dad to me because I lived with him. I took the criticism as a learning experience."

Franklin last rode in 1993. He has retained a lawyer in an effort to regain his license in Maryland, where he was suspended from being an exercise rider three years ago. At 5-foot-2 and 123 pounds, Franklin figures he would need to lose 14 pounds to be a jockey again.

"There's no way they shouldn't at least give him a shot, at least galloping horses," Delp said.

Franklin still follows the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

"I get edgy around this time of year," he said. "I miss horses. That's what hurts the most."

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