Arazi's win starts new Derby focus

April 08, 1992|By Clark Spencer | Clark Spencer,Knight-Ridder

MIAMI -- The phone rang all morning at Sonny Hine's house.

"Did you hear?" callers asked the horse trainer. "Did you hear?"

Hine heard. By midmorning yesterday, every horse trainer with a Kentucky Derby contender had heard.

Arazi roared in Paris, the shock waves flickering Derby hopes from Florida to California. The colt who scorched America's best 2-year-olds in early November at Churchill Downs trounced his French brethren so easily in yesterday's Derby tuneup that jockey Steve Cauthen said "he wasn't doing that much in the last furlong."

"They said he was like a freight train passing a bunch of hobos," Hine said. "But the thing is, you don't know who those hobos were."

Hine's hoping they weren't much, that the horses Arazi defeated yesterday couldn't win a claiming race on American soil, that Arazi isn't the next Secretariat as many claim, that his Technology could get by the magnificent Arazi if the two should meet come the May 2 Derby at Churchill.

Technology, if it were any other year, would be the toast of the East Coast. He won the Florida Derby, the same race that produced the last two Kentucky Derby winners Strike the Gold and Unbridled.

Yet Technology, who makes his final Derby prep Saturday in the Tropical Park Derby at Calder, is grouped with a bunch of nice 3-year-olds many feel will be racing for second-place money on May 2.

Said Cam Gambolati, trainer of 1985 Kentucky Derby winner Spend A Buck: "The only shot they got to beat Arazi, I think, is if his plane goes down."

Gambolati is not alone in his assessment.

The five-length victory by Arazi on Tuesday proved not only that he is healthy following double knee surgery to remove bone chips after his Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile romp, but also that he's a winner.

His race at Saint-Cloud was contested on a turf course listed as "very soft," and after breaking next-to-last in a field of eight, strolled past the finish line under Cauthen's snug restraint to preserve energy. Cauthen never used his whip.

"I'm sure he's a nice horse," said Manny Tortora, trainer of Derby hopeful Sir Pinder. "But he won over there. He didn't win here. There's somebody lying around waiting for him."

The question is who.

A.P. Indy? He fought to defeat Bertrando in the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday and Bertrando was a distant second behind Arazi in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

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