A Derby dumping Valenzuela pronounces Arazi fit from seat of his silks

May 01, 1992|By Paul Moran | Paul Moran,Newsday

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Francois Boutin spent about 10 minutes detailing instructions to rider Pat Valenzuela shortly before sending him and Kentucky Derby favorite Arazi to the racetrack at Churchill Downs for the closest thing the colt has had to exercise this week. After listening intently to Boutin's directions, the interpreter turned to Valenzuela and said: "Just like last year."

Perhaps Arazi understood. Last November, when he reached the track with Valenzuela up for his brief work two days before his show-stopping performance in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile here, Arazi wheeled and deposited the rider on the ground, a prank he repeated with identical results yesterday. Just like last year.

FTC The French-trained colt's gallop, witnessed by perhaps the largest group ever to watch a single workout at Churchill Downs, was almost identical to November's -- a slow canter for a mile followed by what amounted to a 5-furlong gallop that quickened in the run through the stretch. Arazi, who drew applause from the grandstand as he galloped toward the wire, followed a workmate for 3 furlongs before moving on.

Some clockers timed the last 2 furlongs in a shade over 23 seconds. Daily Racing Form clockers, who seemed confused about where the work began and how long it was, posted 5 furlongs in 1:03 1/5, the last quarter in :24 1/5. Arazi was hard-held throughout and the colt clearly wanted to do more, a desire he has displayed throughout the week. Just like last year.

"Awesome. All we need is a clean break," Valenzuela said after the work. "It's over after that."

Arazi, the rider said, is stronger than he was last fall; his acceleration, if possible, is even more explosive. "All the others," he said, "are running for second money. We will win the Derby without a doubt."

An hour later, 18 others were entered by somewhat less confident connections for tomorrow's 118th running of the Kentucky Derby, and, for once, Arazi was last. All their names were drawn in the post-position lottery before Arazi's. His, finally, was matched by chance to the 18th stall of 19. In the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Arazi drew the outside post in a field of 14. Not just like last year, but close.

There is little concern over position in the starting gate in a 1-mile race at Churchill Downs. The first turn is 5 furlongs from the start, offering ample distance for horses in a large field to find position. "The only disadvantage in a field this size is the inside, because you have to stay in there so long," said Chris McCarron, veteran of nine Derbys.

Having already won from an outside post here at 1 1/16 miles, which is considered next to impossible because of the short run to the turn, there is little concern over Arazi's draw. "I'm always happy about any draw," Boutin said, with his wife acting as translator. "You can't do anything about it, anyway."

Boutin said later he considered it important that Valenzuela have the opportunity to reacquaint himself with Arazi yesterday.

"I think my horse is well," Boutin said. "But I needed [Valenzuela's] opinion. He's raced very little this year [once, with Steve Cauthen riding, in France]. I needed the jockey's opinion to reassure myself, because the jockey hasn't ridden him since November. Valenzuela fell off once again, but this is not serious

because he throws all his jockeys."

Saturday's Kentucky Derby lineup

The race is 1 1/4 miles. Purse: $984,000. First place: $734,800. Second place: $145,000. Third place: $70,000. Fourth place: $35,000. Post time is 5:32 p.m. It can be seen on ABC, Channel 13, beginning at 4.30 p.m.

PP .. .. Horse .. .. ..Jockey .. .. .. Trainer .. .. ..Wgt. .. ... Odds

1 .. .. Al Sabin .. .. C. Nakatani .. ..D.Wayne Lukas .126 .. .. ..20-1

2 .. Technology .. .. J. Bailey .. .. .. Sonny Hine .. 126 .. ..... 8-1

3 .. Snappy Landing ..J. Velasquez ..D. Manning .. ... 126 . ..... 10-1

4 .. Casual Lies .. .. G. Stevens .. ..Shelley Riley ..126 .. .... 20-1

5 .. Thyer .. .. .. .. C. Roach .. .. J. Bolger .. .. .126 .. .. ..10-1

6 .. Devil His Due .. M. Smith .. .. .. A. Jerkens ... 126 .. .. ..15-1

7 Pistols & Roses .. J. Vasquez .. .. G. Gianos .. ... 126 .. .. ..15-1

8 Conte di Savoya .. S. Sellers .. .. L. Jolley .. ... 126 .. .. ..30-1

9 Sir Pinder .. .. R. Romero .. .. .. Manny Tortora .. 126 .. .. ..10-1

10 Lil E. Tee .. .. Pat Day .. .. .. Lynn Whiting .. ..126 .. .. ..20-1

11 West by West .. J. Samyn .. .. .. R. Arnold .. .. ..126 .. .. ..10-1

12 Pine Bluff .. ..C. Perret .. .. ..T. Bohannan .. .. 126 .. .. ..12-1

13 Ecstatic Ride .. J. Krone .. .. ..H. Griffitt .. .. 126 .. .. ..10-1

14 Luck Runs North .. R. Lopez .. .. A. Medina .. .. ..126 .. .. ..10-1

15 Dr Devious .. .. C. McCarron .. ..R. McAnally .. .. 126 .. .. ..15-1

16 A.P. Indy .. .. E. Delahoussaye .. N. Drysdale .. ..126 .. .. .. 7-2

17 Dance Floor .. .C. Antley .. .. .. D.Wayne Lukas .. 126 .. .. ..20-1

18 Arazi .. .. .. P.Valenzuela .. .. F. Boutin .. .. ..126 .. .. .. 6-5

19 Disposal .. .. A. Solis .. .. .. .. B. Headley .. ..126 .. .. ..10-1

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