'Bodgit' draws No. 4 for Fla. Derby Trained by Gary Capuano, Laurel Futurity winner is morning-line 3rd choice

March 13, 1997|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

HALLANDALE, Fla. -- Captain Bodgit, one of Maryland's hopes for a rooting interest in the Kentucky Derby, drew the No. 4 post position yesterday for the $500,000 Florida Derby on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

One of the major auditions for a role in the Kentucky Derby on May 3 at Churchill Downs, the Florida Derby drew seven horses willing to challenge an eighth -- the explosively fast and intimidating Pulpit.

The Grade I test of 1 1/8 miles will be televised on ABC. Post time is 4: 37 p.m.

Only one of the eight entrants -- all developing 3-year-olds -- has ever raced 1 1/8 miles. That is Captain Bodgit, who won the Laurel Futurity at that distance in November.

But Captain Bodgit, who is trained by Marylander Gary Capuano, is third choice in the morning line. He is 5-1.

The prohibitive favorite at 3-5 is Pulpit, who has dominated his three races with the style and grace of a budding champion. He drew the No. 2 post position.

The race lost its only sure thing -- unless you consider Pulpit a sure thing -- when Arthur L. injured a tendon in his stall at Calder Race Course in Miami. He apparently got tangled in the stall webbing. Arthur L. surely would have set the pace.

Now, Acceptable, breaking from the No. 1 post, may be forced to challenge Pulpit for early dominance. Ridden by Jerry Bailey and trained by Nick Zito, Acceptable will race for the first time on Lasix.

He bled slightly in his last start, the Fountain of Youth Stakes here on Feb. 22. In that race, running stride for stride with Pulpit around the far turn, Acceptable took a bad step -- perhaps in a hole, Bailey said -- and gave up. He finished sixth, more than eight lengths behind Pulpit.

"I'm willing to forgive him that race," Zito said.

Captain Bodgit closed powerfully to finish third in the Fountain of Youth. But Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor, which owns the Captain, said he'd be satisfied with another late-running third, or perhaps second, in the Florida Derby.

"The Fountain of Youth was a hard race on him," Irwin said. "We don't want to burn the horse out too early."

The field for the Florida Derby, from the rail out, with jockey, trainer and odds:

Acceptable, Bailey, Zito, 4-1; Pulpit, Shane Sellers, Frank Brothers, 3-5; Mchelle'sallhands, Julie Krone, Mario Zacco, 15-1; Captain Bodgit, Alex Solis, Capuano, 5-1; Frisk Me Now, Edwin L. King Jr., Robert Durso, 20-1; Jack Flash, Craig Perret, Zito, 20-1; Wrightwood, Joe Bravo, D. Wayne Lukas, 20-1; Hurry The Dance, Gary Boulanger, Patrick Byrne, 10-1.

All carry 122 pounds.

Pub Date: 3/13/97

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