Can't Be Denied gets Derby jump

February 07, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

"Derby Fever" surfaced at Laurel Race Course yesterday even though the May 7 classic at Churchill Downs is three months away.

The Laurel-based 3-year-old colt Can't Be Denied moved to the head of the list of local Derby-age prospects when he defeated Maryland-bred champion Run Alden by a half-length in the $53,575 Dancing Count Stakes.

The horse is undefeated in three career starts and passed an important class test by beating the proven pair of stakes winners, Run Alden and Popol's Gold, in his added-money debut.

Dale Lucas, managing partner of the seven-person syndicate that owns the horse, is not shy about his group's intentions.

"We're looking to the Derby," Lucas said. "He's nominated to everything [coming preps] leading to the race. We don't know where he'll run next or what his exact campaign will be. But

we've got to stretch him out [to a distance].

"There's the Cherry Hill Mile [at Garden State Park] on March 4. Then he's nominated to the Battaglia [John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, March 19] and Jim Beam [Stakes, April 2] at Turfway Park. We're going to give it a try and let the cards fall where they may."

Can't Be Denied won his first two Laurel starts in December by a combined 11 1/2 lengths, but his introduction into stakes company was delayed until yesterday by bad weather. He was scheduled to run in the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct a month ago. That race was canceled and when it was carded again, Lucas and his trainer, Carlos Garcia, opted instead for Laurel's Dancing Count. The initial running of the race was set for last Saturday, then was scrapped because of poor track conditions and re-drawn for yesterday.

Can't Be Denied broke slowly from the one-hole and was outrun early by Run Alden, who stalked early pace-setters Invincible Sue and Whiz Pass.

But it wasn't long before the horse's jockey, Rick Wilson, got Can't Be Denied to rush into contention along the rail. On the turn, Wilson angled out, went three horses wide and hooked up with Run Alden inside the eighth pole.

It wasn't until the final yards that Can't Be Denied edged clear.

"This horse has shown as much potential as Storm Tower," Wilson said. "He doesn't have that quick burst of speed. But he keeps hammering at you."

Wilson won the Grade I Wood Memorial on Storm Tower last spring and then finished 16th in the Derby after setting the early pace.

Can't Be Denied has an entirely different running style. He comes from off the pace and doesn't have to be hurried early.

"Basically, he'll do whatever you want him to do," Wilson said. "He did get a little nasty [yesterday] in the gate. He didn't like being loaded first and then standing there."

Jerry Robb, who trains runner-up Run Alden, was not disappointed in his horse's second-place finish. Run Alden carried eight more pounds than Can't Be Denied. Robb thought his horse got tired at the end because he had missed a couple weeks of training last month due to the inclement weather.

"I think the lack of training hurt him more than the weight," Robb said.

Popol's Gold, who finished 3 1/2 lengths behind Run Alden in third place, was hurt by an unlucky trip. His jockey, Larry Reynolds, checked him on the turn when it looked like he might be running up on the heels of Can't Be Denied.

In addition to Lucas, Can't Be Denied is owned by Burt Gold, Leonard Farbman and Steve Seymour, all of Baltimore; Al Kirkner of Westminster; Jim Hall of Alexandria, Va.; and Lucas's father, Edgar Lucas, of Brooklandville.

Garcia also won yesterday's secondary feature, the $27,875 Singing Beauty Stakes, with 5-year-old mare Suspect Terrain. She will run next in the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap on Feb. 19.

Garcia won the Dancing Count Stakes last year with Wolf Prince, the gray son of Wolf Power that eventually finished eighth in the 1993 English Derby.

MARYLAND NOMINEES

Maryland trainers Dean Gaudet and Richard Small each have nominated a trio of 3-year-old colts to the spring classics.

Of the 354 horses nominated to this year's Triple Crown, 25 are principally based in the state, although several Maryland horsemen are wintering elsewhere.

Heading the list nationally are Dehere, who was beaten in his seasonal debut at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Brocco and Holly Bull.

Here's a list of the Maryland-based nominees for the Triple Crown:

Trainer .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Horse(s)

Donald Barr .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Richie The Coach

Earl Begley .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Mr. Meadow

*Vinnie Blengs .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Silver Profile

*Dale Capuano .. .. .. .. .. .. ...Honorable Flight

Bud Delp .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...Slew's Eagle

Dick Delp .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Cloud's Forty Four

*Joe Devereux .. .. .. .. .. .. ...Heavenly Crusade

Mary Eppler .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Gash

Carlos Garcia .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Can't Be Denied

Dean Gaudet .. .. .. .. .. .Curriamo, Forest Wildcat

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... Seattle Forest

Charlie Hadry .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Callable

James McGreevy .. .. .. .. .. .. ... ...Bet On Rein

Jimmy Murphy .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Cashel Dancer

*John Myers .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Takeitlikeaman

Ross Pearce .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Theatre of War

J. B. Secor .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Kayacan

*Dick Small .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Barge In, Concern

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .... Looming

Hamilton Smith .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Blaise Winter

*Barclay Tagg .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Lt. Hill

Billy Turner .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Popol's Gold

Katy Voss .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Justalittleshower

*-Currently stabled out of town

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