Sticky tale of two partners, one horse: Will colt Arazi race here or in Europe?

Notebook

March 29, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

If super colt Arazi wins the Kentucky Derby, it might ruin the Preakness.

A controversy could develop since the colt is owned jointly by Allen Paulson, the corporate giant (founder of Gulfstream Aerospace as well as Brookside Farm in Lexington, Ky.) and Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum of Dubai.

When Paulson took Sheik Mohammed as a partner last year, the agreement was that Arazi run in Paulson's colors in the United States and Sheik Mohammed's colors in Europe. Also, when the colt is retired, he will go to stud at Sheik Mohammed's Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, England.

Now for the controversy.

Since Arazi goes to stud in Europe, Shiek Mohammed might prefer to skip the American Triple Crown, at least the final two-thirds of it, and run Arazi instead in Europe's most prestigious race for 3-year-olds, the English Derby, run at Epsom on June 3.

Because of the timing (the Preakness is May 16, the Belmont Stakes June 6), Arazi cannot possibly run on both continents.

It's either the English Derby or the final two-thirds of the Triple Crown.

Paulson wants the Triple Crown.

Sheik Mohammed hasn't publicly stated his preference, but it's believed he'd rather win the the English Derby, a race he has never won.

In case the partners can't agree, Arazi's French trainer, Francois Boutin, might make the final decision. He said at a luncheon in England last week that he's leaning toward the English Derby.

All of which means that for the first time since 1985, the Preakness could be run without the Kentucky Derby winner.

That was the year Spend A Buck opted for the Jersey Derby instead of the Preakness, causing a ruckus between Chick Lang, then Pimlico's general manager, and Bob Brennan, the operator at Garden State Park who lured away Spend A Buck with a $1 million bonus.

Whether Joe De Francis will engage in some sheik-bashing, if indeed Sheik Mohammed skips the Preakness, remains to be seen.

Of course, the potential argument could be moot: Arazi first has to win the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky-bred son of Blushing Groom makes his first start at Saint-Cloud on April 7 in the Grade II Prix Omnium at about one mile on the turf. He will be ridden by Steve Cauthen, who rides him in Europe. But in the United States, Pat Valenzuela has the mount.

Paulson purchased Arazi as a weanling at the Keeneland (Ky.) sales for $350,000. He tried to put him back in the sales as a yearling.

However, the plan backfired. Paulson bid the colt back for $300,000. Apparently, Arazi, super-horse that he is, isn't a perfect physical specimen. He doesn't have the straightest front legs and is said to "wing" when he runs. That prompted Paulson to send him to Europe to train and race where he wouldn't have to run on the hard American dirt surfaces.

After he electrified the racing world with his win at Churchill Downs last fall in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Arazi was operated on for knee chips.

Although Arazi is bet down to short odds in the Kentucky Derby future books, getting the horse to the Derby is no sure thing.

The May 2 Derby is about a month away and only about a third of the graded prep races leading up to the race have been run.

A bunch of 3-year-old races are jammed into the calendar during the next month.

Last year's Derby winner, Strike The Gold, won the Blue Grass Stakes. Last year's Preakness and Belmont winner, Hansel, prepped for the Triple Crown by winning the Jim Beam and Lexington stakes.

*

Budget cuts: When Hajii's Treasure broke down in the 1985 Preakness, his fractured leg was stabilized and his life saved after he was shipped to the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa.

The world-class veterinary equine hospital is affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

So the alarm bells rang last week when Pennsylvania Gov.

Robert P. Casey said he planned to cut funding to his state's private universities.

Included in those cuts would be about $15 million annually, or 40 percent of the operating budget for Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine.

The university reacted by saying it would phase out its veterinary school over the next four years, including shutting down New Bolton, if the money was not restored.

"If the vet school loses funding, then New Bolton also loses," said Bruce Rappoport, associate dean of the New Bolton Center. "We were faced with this same problem last year when the governor threatened to cut half our funding. But it was restored by the state legislature."

The road to the Kentucky Derby

Prep races, according to graded status, on the road to the May 2 Kentucky Derby:

GRADE I

Date..Race.. .. .. .. .. ..Track.. .. .. ..Dist. .. .Winner

3/14..Florida Derby.. .. ..Gulfstream.. .. 1 1/8 m.. .. .Technology

Santa Anita Derby.. .Santa Anita.. ..1 1/8 m

4/18..Wood Memorial.. .. ..Aqueduct.. .. ..1 1/8 m

GRADE II

1/25..Hutcheson Stakes.. ..Gulfstream.. .. 7f.. .. ..My Luck Runs

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..North

2/22..Fountain of Youth.. .Gulfstream.. .. 1 1/16m.. Dance Floor

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