For 'Song,' Wood represents effort at energy conservation He's expected to breeze in final Derby tuneup

April 13, 1996|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- Even before today's final major Kentucky Derby preps are run, Unbridled's Song is a winner.

By meeting a small, relatively weak field in the $500,000, 1 1/8 -mile Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, he should triumph with less than an all-out effort, emerging with energy in reserve for the Kentucky Derby three weeks away.

"We'd rather not have a real hard race right now," said Jim Ryerson, trainer of the Unbridled colt. "Now we're trying just to have him be right for the Kentucky Derby. The easier the race right now, the better off he's going to be."

The projected Kentucky Derby favorite, Unbridled's Song is the 2-to-5 morning-line choice in the Wood. He scared off potential competitors with his sizzling, 5 3/4 -length win March 16 in the Florida Derby.

Asked whether he'd be shocked if Unbridled's Song did not win today, Ryerson said: "I think he's a better horse than the rest. But anything can happen in this game. All I really have to say is that Dick Dutrow's got an undefeated horse in this race."

Dutrow, a one-time leading trainer in Maryland, handles Romano Gucci, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Rockville's Herb Kushner. Romano Gucci, 5-to-1 in the morning line, won the one-mile Gotham Stakes here March 30 over a speed-favoring track.

If he can't maintain his stamina for another eighth of a mile, a distinct possibility, the late-charging Feather Box might complete the exacta. Feather Box's trainer, Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr., won the Wood four times during his riding career.

Completing the Wood's six-horse field are In Contention, winner of the Cherry Hill Mile at Garden State Park; Harrowman, who ran his past three races on the grass, and Secreto de Estado, a horse from Panama who has lost his four U.S. races by a combined 59 1/2 lengths.

The more intriguing Derby audition today is the $700,000, 1 1/8 -mile Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. Any one of the seven entries could pop up with a top effort May 4 and win the Kentucky Derby.

According to the morning line, the main threats in the Blue Grass are Diligence at 2-to-1, trained by Nick Zito and owned by George Steinbrenner; Editor's Note at 5-to-2, trained by D. Wayne Lukas; Draw at 7-to-2, trained by Shug McGaughey and owned by Maryland's Stuart S. Janney III, and Skip Away at 6-to-1, trained by Sonny Hine.

Others Blue Grass entries are Semoran, Louis Quatorze and Ensign Ray.

In the $500,000, 1 1/8 -mile Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, the likely favorites are Grindstone, Halo Sunshine and Blow Out. Also entered is Dynapopper, who raced six times at Laurel Park and is trained by Jack Van Berg. The Dynaformer colt is 30-to-1 in the morning line.

Pub Date: 4/13/96

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