Weather may halt Can't Be Denied

January 14, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

The stakes debut of unbeaten Maryland-based colt Can't Be Denied might be delayed tomorrow by poor weather conditions.

The 3-year-old Triple Crown nominee, who is trained at Laurel Race Course by Carlos Garcia, is entered in the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct.

"But we're not going to run him if the temperature is in the single digits or the track is in bad shape," said Dale Lucas, who heads a nine-person partnership, made up mostly of Marylanders, that owns the horse. The weather forecast calls for scattered snow showers and frigid temperatures that could also threaten Laurel's weekend card.

Lucas acknowledged that the group has turned down a $300,000 offer for the colt, who has won his first two career starts at Laurel by a combined total of 11 1/2 lengths. The partnership purchased the son of 1982 Preakness runner-up, Linkage, at the Timonium sales last spring for $35,000.

Lucas said he thinks Can't Be Denied is every bit as good as previous colts, Dr. Unright and Surely Six, that he picked out for partnerships a couple of years ago. Dr. Unright won the Count Fleet Stakes in 1992 and then was sold to Saudi Arabian interests.

"We think he [Can't Be Denied] is the real McCoy," Lucas said. "He's won both of his races in easy fashion. He's explosive. And he's extremely correct [in his physical conformation]."

Another Maryland-based colt, Robert Meyerhoff's Looming, is also entered in the 10-horse Count Fleet field. The Pimlico-based runner wonthe Silano Stakes at Laurel on Jan. 2.

Rick Wilson will ride Can't Be Denied, and Andrea Seefeldt will ride Looming.

Manfuso off Hollywood Board

Rick Simon, a spokesman for Hollywood Park, confirmed yesterday that Bob Manfuso, minority partner of Laurel/Pimlico, resigned from the California track's board of directors last month.

The move apparently indicates the seriousness of track chairman R.D. Hubbard to buy out the Manfuso brothers' interests in Laurel/Pimlico. A source said yesterday that the De Francis Group, majority owners of Laurel/Pimlico, said they would not deal with Hubbard as long as Manfuso served on the Hollywood board.

Hollywood Park is one of about a half dozen investors Joe De Francis is negotiating with to buy out the Manfusos. De Francis had no comment, and Hubbard did not return phone calls.

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