Give those long shots long look Kentucky kDerby notebook

April 30, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

LOUISVILLE, KY — LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Looking for value for your $2, or even $1, bet on the Kentucky Derby?

There seem to be lots of good buys in this year's bulky field, the largest in nearly a decade. This is the year to bet your age, ZIP code digits or a derivation of your telephone number in what is truly "a bettor's race."

Mack Miller, the quintessential conservative horse trainer who never bets, said he is even going to risk $10 on his horse, Sea Hero, a 30-1 long shot.

Miller, 71, traditionally has bypassed the Derby, but now says a win in the Kentucky classic would "make my life complete. To win it would be a happy miracle."

It seems that Sea Hero, who has not won a race this year, hates hot weather and melted during a series of races in Florida last fall and winter.

Now that he has headed north, the horse is thriving and "has turned the corner," according to Miller, in his training regimen.

Another possible bargain at 30-1 odds is Kissin' Kris, the horse that wears earmuffs to block out the noise of the crowds.

It seems fairly certain that Bull inthe Heather, will go off at a shorterprice than the the 10-1 odds listed on the Churchill Downs morning line.

The horse looks splendid and has been brought to perfection for the race by his trainer, Howie Tesher.

Wallenda, a 15-1 long shot, is ridden for the first time by Pat Day, a legend in Kentucky. He won the Derby last year with Lil E. Tee. Bettor sentiment also could knock his odds lower than the listed price. But remember, only two jockeys -- Ron Turcotte (1972-1973) and Eddie Delahoussaye (1982-1983) have ridden back-to-back Derby winners in the past 90 years.

If all else fails, take the advice of renowned trainer D. Wayne Lukas. He said at a banquet Wednesday night that the best bet tomorrow would be a show wager on the seven-horse mutuel field.

No Marked Tree

Marked Tree, the Loblolly Stable 3-year-old that could have accompanied his stablemate, Prairie Bayou, and become the 20th starter in the Kentucky Derby, will run May 8 in the Illinois Derby or on May 15 in the Preakness.

"If we ran him [tomorrow], it might knock him out for some of the big races this summer," trainer Tom Bohannan said. "I think the best thing for him would be to give him an extra week, then go in either of those races."

Loblolly's Dalhart will not start in the Preakness. He is being sent to the farm for some rest after bleeding in the Arkansas Derby.

Miscellaneous

When Anthony Tornetta, former part-owner of Storm Tower, was buried Wednesday, a picture of him and jockey Rick Wilson in the winner's circle at the Wood Memorial was placed on top of the casket and surrounded by roses. . . . Lukas is the only trainer in tomorrow's race to have won a Derby. . . . Wilson is flying his whole family to Louisville from Sykesville for the race. His parents and in-laws also are coming. . . . Ragtime Rebel became the last Derby starter to arrive yesterday after shipping to Kentucky by van from Oklahoma City. . . . Lukas thinks some of the horses in the Derby have questionable stamina. "At the top of the stretch, there are going to be some Chris Webbers. They're going to be calling 'Time out,' " he said. Webber is the Michigan player who called an illegal timeout at the end of the NCAA basketball championship, which helped North Carolina win. . . . Since there are only 12 betting interests, the longest shots in the Derby are grouped together in the mutuel field. Oddsmaker Mike Battaglia complimented the group yesterday. "Usually, there would be seven bums, but there are some nice horses in the field this year," he said.

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