Breeders' Cup program awaits arrival of European explorer Rodrigo De Triano in position to strike

October 31, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

HALLANDALE, FLA. — HALLANDALE, Fla.-- D. Wayne Lukas calls him "the horse with the alphabet name."

He is a 3-year-old English-raced colt named Rodrigo De Triano, who is already being hailed as Europe's "Horse of the Year" after winning four Group I races and could be "horse of the world" if he wins the $3 million Breeders' Cup Classic today at Gulfstream Park.

The Classic is the world's richest horse race and the centerpiece the seven races, which have attracted what are considered to be the best 92 racehorses in the world. Fourteen are entered in the 1 1/4 -mile Classic, including the early 3-1 favorite, Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Pleasant Tap, and Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy at 4-1.

Rodrigo De Triano and Sultry Song are next, listed at 6-1. Rodrigo De Triano will be trying to become the first European-based winner in nine runnings of the Classic.

What is Rodrigo De Triano's best attribute?

"Explosive speed," said his trainer, Peter Chapple-Hyam. "He can gallop around there like an old sheep, then all of a sudden fire into action."

Rodrigo De Triano, who has never raced on dirt, won't have an easy job. But somehow it seems fitting that Rodrigo De Triano be the first European conqueror. He is named after the Spanish seaman who first spotted land from the crow's nest of one of Christopher Columbus' ships in 1492.

Will the sailor's namesake make the same kind of splash?

There is a May-December relationship among the horsemen surrounding him.

Chapple-Hyam, 29, is the youngest trainer with a Classic contender. The horse's jockey is 55-year-old Lester Piggott, the oldest rider in the race.

How do they get along?

"Well, you know, Lester, he doesn't say much," Chapple-Hyam said.

Piggott is the world-class jockey who served 15 months in jail for tax invasion and then came back in his 50s to stage a remarkable comeback.

Chapple-Hyam is a burly boy who played soccer and probably would speak with a drawl if he weren't from Warwickshire. He is a sort of British Shug McGaughey.

"He is just a regular guy," said one English journalist.

Chapple-Hyam is the current boy wonder of English racing. He saddled his first winner just 1 1/2 years ago and since then has won the English Derby with Dr Devious, who starts in the Breeders' Cup Turf today. With Rodrigo De Triano, he has won the English 2,000 Guineas and Champion Stakes.

Chapple-Hyam was chief assistant to Barry Hills, former trainer for Robert Sangster at the British sportsman's deluxe training establishment, Manton. When Hills left Manton, Chapple-Hyam took over the Sangster runners.

Included in that group were two untried 2-year-olds, Rodrigo De Triano and Dr Devious.

Which horse is better?

It doesn't take Chapple-Hyam long to answer. "Rodrigo De Triano. He has more speed," he said.

"He failed [and finished ninth in the English Derby] because he couldn't go 1 1/2 miles in a van. But at 1 to 1 1/4 miles he's the best in Europe. Dr Devious is a lazy horse, but can stay."

Chapple-Hyam credits his success to instilling speed in his runners. "In England, it seems most of the speed is trained out of the horses," he said.

"I like to work them at shorter distances."

Expected pacesetters in today's Classic are Jolie's Halo and Technology, who is running for the first time on Lasix.

Bob Camac, trainer of Jolie's Halo, said: "We'll be 1-2-3 early on. If they run the first half-mile in 46 [seconds], then we'll be OK. If it goes in 44, forget us."

Jolie's Halo is ridden by Maryland jockey Edgar Prado.

The most intriguing race on the rest of the program could be the Mile. Arazi, who never lived up to his pre-Kentucky Derby hype, will be seeking redemption. He could lock up with Forty Niner Days in a speed duel, giving Luthier Enchanteur a shot to win.

In the Juvenile, meanwhile, Gilded Time will be looking to become the next Arazi. The most impressive horse to emerge from this field of 2-year-olds will be anointed next year's Kentucky Derby favorite.

Bettors can try to pick the winners in all seven Breeders' Cup races. The pool in the National Pick 7 is expected to reach $10 million. Special mutuel windows at Laurel and Pimlico will accept Pick 7 wagers.

Breeders' Cup

When: Today, 1:50 p.m. post

Where: Gulfstream Park, Hallandale, Fla.

What: The ninth-annual event features races in seven divisions worth $10 million in purses, from the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint to the $3 million Classic.

TV: Channels 2 and 4 at 1:30 p.m.

Simulcast: Laurel and Pimlico will carry all seven races.

National Pick 7: The pool is expected to reach $10 million, with the payoff going to bettors who pick all seven winners. Special mutuel windows at Laurel and Pimlico will accept Pick 7 wagers.

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