Dehere makes bid to be next hero Bay colt breezes by 2 1/2 in Hopeful at Saratoga

August 30, 1993|By Bill Finley | Bill Finley,New York Daily News

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Racing wants a hero, wants it badly. The search has endured for years; all the while, the sport has slipped further into a morass of problems. It is a huge responsibility, and most who have attempted to fulfill the role have failed. Arazi was crushed under the burden.

Now there is a new one, a bay colt with every tool. His name is Dehere and he is awfully good, but that no longer will be good enough. They will ask him to be great. Will he?

"I believe he will," said his trainer, Reynaldo Nobles. "I believe he will."

It's too early to tell what will happen with this horse, but with each passing race, with each stunning performance, Dehere moves closer to being that one special horse we have all been waiting for for so long. He did it again yesterday at Saratoga. He was simply phenomenal.

Under Chris McCarron, Dehere won the Hopeful as easily as a horse can win a race. Breaking sharply for the first time in his four-start career, he vied for the lead until the quarter-pole and then McCarron let him go.

Showing his famous acceleration, he burst away from the field effortlessly. Pulled up at the sixteenth-pole, he won by 2 1/2 lengths over Slew Gin Fizz in front of 49,652.

"I said he was a superstar, and he is," Nobles said. "He hasn't done nothing yet. You will see. He's great, a real, real super horse."

The primary difference between the Hopeful and Dehere's other three races was that he finally had a clean trip. In fact, he showed a new dimension, tactical speed, and the ability to fight off a number of horses who took early runs at him.

"He's got a very abrupt turn of foot," McCarron said. "Any time you have that kind of acceleration, you know they have speed. You just chirp to him and it's literally like stepping on a gas pedal. You press down on the gas pedal and you get that acceleration. He's a very exciting horse."

Dehere is named after former Seton Hall basketball star Terry Dehere, and all of his earnings are donated to the Dehere Foundation, which is devoted to ending violence in the inner cities. He earned $120,000 yesterday, pushing his career bankroll to $270,480.

"This is a great feeling," Terry Dehere said. "The main thing for us is to have him win so that we can help the community. Any time this horse wins, he's doing a great thing for the community."

Dehere paid $2.80 and completed the 6 1/2 furlongs run over a fast track in 1 minute, 15 4/5 seconds. With the win, he became the first horse since Campfire in 1916 to win the Saratoga Special, the Sanford and the Hopeful. The only other horse to do it was eventual Kentucky Derby winner Regret, who swept the three races in 1914.

Owner Robert Brennan and Nobles must plot their strategies on the way to the Nov. 6 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. Brennan listed three races they are considering: the Sept. 18 Futurity at Belmont, the Oct. 10 Norfolk at Santa Anita and the Oct. 16 Champagne Belmont. He said the colt would run in either one or two of those races.

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