Long shots can be more than also-rans

May 02, 1991|By Marty McGee | Marty McGee,Sun Staff Correspondent

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Big Four have dominated Kentucky Derby week at Churchill Downs, but there are several long shots being given moderate chances to make their presences felt.

The field seems to have more than the usual clutter, what with horses such as Forty Something, Paulrus and Wilder Than Ever expected to be grouped in the mutuel field after entries are taken today.

But Quintana is drawing mild support from onlookers, and the locals are hopeful that Corporate Report will carry Pat Day to his first Derby win.

Then there is Mane Minister, fourth in the Santa Anita Derby. The Deputy Minister colt blew out three furlongs in 34 3/5 seconds yesterday, leading trainer Juan "Paco" Gonzales to say: "He's coming up to it perfectly. If he gets beat, it won't be because he's not ready."

But the most plausible upset would be by Sea Cadet, who figures to go off about 10 or 12 to 1. The bob-tailed colt will be the Derby front-runner, and with Chris McCarron aboard, a wire-to-wire score is the obvious game plan.

* At noon yesterday, the National Weather Service forecast for Louisville for Saturday was partly cloudy, chance of thunderstorms, and a high of near 80 degrees.

* Kentucky Derby week is one that showcases not only the nation's best 3-year-olds, but top horses in other divisions, too.

Lite Light and Withallprobability will run in tomorrow's $250,000-added Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. Also tomorrow, the $150,000-added Early Times Classic for older turf horses has attracted Opening Verse and 1990 grass champion Itsallgreektome.

On Derby day, the biggest name in the four supporting stakes will be Thirty Six Red, who will run in the $50,000-added Churchill Downs Handicap at seven furlongs. Thirty Six Red finished ninth third choice in last year's Derby.

* Only three trainers in this year's Derby have already won the race: John Campo (Pleasant Colony in 1981), David Cross (Sunny's Halo in 1983) and D. Wayne Lukas (Winning Colors in 1988).

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