Derby field is dwindling down to size in a hurry

April 08, 1991|By New York Daily News

NEW YORK -- To be living, breathing and surviving is to be a Kentucky Derby contender. It's been a rough road to Louisville.

The number of serious candidates for the May 4 Kentucky Derby has dwindled to a precious few after Saturday's round of Derby prep races. For now, it appears that Santa Anita Derby winner Dinard and Florida Derby winner Fly So Free are the class of their class. And only Best Pal, Meadow Star, Hansel, Strike the Gold and Richman remain as realistic threats.

While Dinard, who came out of the Santa Anita Derby in perfect shape, will head to Kentucky, he will not be joined by too many fellow Californians. Santa Anita Derby also-rans Sea Cadet, Scan, Compelling Sound and Media Plan are expected to bypass the Derby.

Even Best Pal, who finished a solid second at Santa Anita, is not a definite Kentucky Derby starter. Owner John Mabee had said Best Pal must win the Santa Anita Derby to warrant a starting berth. He is now reconsidering that decision.

Trainer Scotty Schulhofer's arsenal still includes winterbook favorite Fly So Free, but it weakened considerably over the weekend. The stable's Cahill Road was upset as the 3-10 favorite in the Preview at Gulfstream and Schulhofer now says that a decision on his Derby status is pending. It seems highly unlikely that he will run such an inexperienced colt in the Derby.

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