3-year-olds take center stage

March 19, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

From now until the Triple Crown races end in early June, attention in thoroughbred stakes will be focused on 3-year-olds.

There are several Kentucky Derby-age preps today, including starts made on three different fronts by these Maryland-bred or Maryland-based horses.

* Can't Be Denied. The undefeated Laurel-based colt, owned by a partnership that includes several Baltimoreans, is the 3-1 program favorite in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. The Kentucky-bred colt was purchased at a Timonium sale last spring by the partners for $35,000.

The race, which is a prep for the $600,000 Jim Beam Stakes on April 2, drew an 11-horse field. Can't Be Denied drew the No. 10 post, a disadvantage, but carries only 110 pounds. Personal Merit, the second choice who won the Princeton Stakes at The Meadowlands last fall, drew the extreme outside and carries 121 pounds.

Can't Be Denied blew out three furlongs over a muddy Turfway strip yesterday in 37 3/5 seconds. "He'll be third going into the first turn, just a couple of lengths off the pace," said Carlos Garcia, the horse's trainer. "He's got natural speed and he's bred to go long. This is one fit horse."

It is the first try around two turns for Can't Be Denied. He will be ridden by Rick Wilson, Laurel's fourth-leading jockey. The race is not being simulcast in Maryland.

* Concern. Robert Meyerhoff's Maryland-bred Broad Brush colt is the 6-1 third choice in the 11-horse $100,000 Great West Stakes at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. Silver Goblin, winner of five straight races, including the Budweiser Stakes at Remington in his past start, is the even-money favorite. Sunny's Bruno, winner of the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct in January and runner-up in the Whirlaway Stakes, is the second pick.

Maryland's leading woman jockey, Andrea Seefeldt, rides Concern, who breaks from the 5-hole and gets a 9- to 6-pound weight break from the two favorites. The race is at 1 mile, 70 yards. Concern is headquartered at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., with trainer Dick Small, who is spending the winter there with about a half-dozen Meyerhoff stakes horses. Like the Battaglia, the Great West is not simulcast in Maryland.

* Run Alden. He drew the one-hole and carries a high weight of 122 pounds in Laurel's $50,000 feature, the Goss L. Stryker Stakes, which is restricted to Maryland-breds.

"But neither the post or the weight is going to hurt him. He is doing really good right now. Barring bad luck, he should win," said trainer Jerry Robb. "It looks like Robby Bailes's colt [Invincible Sue] is on the improve, but other than that, there's not much in there."

The race marks the return of Edgar Prado to Maryland stakes. He rides Heavenwood.

Robb said he is pointing Run Alden to the April 23 Federico Tesio Stakes and the May 21 Preakness "if he's that good." The horse will have to run well in the April 2 Private Terms Stakes at Pimlico to be nominated to the Triple Crown at a cost of $6,000 since he was not originally nominated in January.

Run Alden will meet Meyerhoff's double-stakes winner, Looming, in the Private Terms.

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