Devil His Due trainer may skip Derby despite 1-length Wood Memorial win Jerkens hesitant on 'overdoing' colt NEW YORK

April 19, 1992

HOT SPRINGS, ARK. — NEW YORK -- A year ago, Cahill Road won the Wood Memorial, came back to the winner's circle lame and never raced again.

Yesterday, Devil His Due won the same Kentucky Derby prep, but his trainer, Allen Jerkens, said the colt might not run at Churchill Downs on May 2.

"I would prefer not to go to the Derby," Jerkens said. "That would be a lot of racing for this horse in such a short time. We'll think it over. A 50-50 chance? I'd say that that would be it, tops. I don't believe in overdoing a horse."

The Hall of Fame trainer said that he would make a decision on Tuesday about the Derby. Edith LiButti, who owns Devil His Due, said that running in the Derby has been her dream since she bought her first horse in 1973, but that she would let Jerkens make the decision.

Unraced as a 2-year-old, Devil His Due was running for the sixth time this year and the third time in a month. He won the $500,000 Wood by a length on a chilly, overcast day that brought 18,325 to Aqueduct. The Devil's Bag-Plenty O'Toole colt gave Jerkens, 62, his biggest day in racing. He started five horses on the card and won with four of them, with Missy's Mirage and Belong To Me also winning stakes.

Devil His Due, ridden by Mike Smith for the first time, was second behind Goldwater, passed him at the head of the stretch and then held off the closers, West By West and Rokeby. West By West, who was 31-1, finished second, two lengths ahead of Rokeby, the British colt who came from last place in a field of 12 to take third in his first American start.

Rokeby finished a neck in front of Snappy Landing. Careful Gesture finished fifth, followed by the filly Queen Of Triumph, Chief Speaker, Goldwater, Jacksonport, Surely Six, Best Decorated and Pie In Your Eye. Thunder Rumble, the 7-2 morning-line favorite, was scratched after running a 103-degree overnight temperature.

Devil His Due's time for 1 1/8 miles over a track labeled good was 1 minute, 49 1/5 seconds.

Snappy Landing, despite only one victory in seven starts, went off a slight 5-2 favorite, with Devil His Due paying $7.60 and earning $300,000.

Arkansas Derby

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- Pine Bluff overcame bad racing luck and Lil E. Tee to capture the $500,000 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

The heavily favored son of Danzig stamped himself as a Kentucky Derby prospect by finishing a neck in front of Lil E. Tee, covering the 1 1/8 miles in 1 minute, 49 2/5 seconds.

It was the second straight victory for Pine Bluff, who finished 1991 with two victories in graded stakes in New York.

Owned by the Loblolly Stable and trained by Thomas Bohannan, Pine Bluff was fourth early on and racing along a slow rail. Jerry Bailey moved the horse off the rail before the leaders went into the far turn. At that point, Lil E. Tee, with Pat Day aboard, took the lead and Pine Bluff moved up on his outside, giving up a great deal of ground around the turn.

The two battled down the stretch under equal weights of 122 pounds and Pine Bluff prevailed.

The winner paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.20. Lil E. Tee paid $2.60 and $2.20. It was seven lengths back to Desert Force, who held on for third and returned $2.80.

Nash Memorial Handicap

CHICAGO

CHICAGO -- Danc 'n Jake, a son of 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed, used a stretch drive to win the $109,550 Thomas D. Nash Memorial Handicap at Sportsman's Park.

Special Buck, closing fastest in the field of seven 3-year-olds, finished three-quarters of a length back in second. Ten Taylor Road took third in the 1 1/16-mile race over a sloppy track.

Gee Can He Dance, the 2-1 favorite, ran fourth after tracking front-running Thanks to Randy for about seven furlongs. Imperial Gold, the second choice, stumbled at the start and almost unseated Robery Robert Landry. The colt finished fifth.

Danc 'n Jake, ridden by Carlos Silva, was timed in 1 minute, 45 2/5 seconds and paid $10.60, $5.20 and $3.40 and earned $65,730 for his first stakes victory. The gelding races for and was bred by Chicago suburbanites Morton Fink, Roy Gottlieb and Lee Sacks.

Special Buck paid $5.20 and $3.20 and Ten Taylor Road returned $3.40.

Danc 'n Jake, who made a winner debut at Arlington International Racecourse last Aug. 1, had lost eight straight races before the Nash.

"He ran some good races in Florida for my dad [Lou M. Goldfine] before he shipped him up to Chicago," trainer Mickey Goldfine said. "His next race will be in the $500,000 Illinois Derby here on May 9."

Ashland Stakes

LEXINGTON, Ky.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Prospectors Delite ran her unbeaten streak to five races by scoring a wire-to-wire victory in stakes-record time in the $286,250 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland Race Course.

Prospectors Delite, owned by Will Farish and trained by Neil Howard, gradually pulled away from the field of 10 in the stretch in finishing in a stakes-record 1 minute, 42 3/5 seconds over 1 1/16 miles.

Prospectors Delite, which didn't race last year, broke strongly from the No. 1 post position and set the pace under Craig Perret in the Grade I event for 3-year-old fillies.

The victory was worth $186,062 for the daughter of Mr. Prospector, increasing her career earnings to $282,872.

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