Smoke Glacken out of Derby after third at Fair Grounds Maryland colt headed for shorter distances

March 17, 1997|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

NEW ORLEANS -- Smoke Glacken's road to the Kentucky Derby ended yesterday at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

The headstrong colt from Maryland finished a gutsy third in the $400,000 Louisiana Derby. But the distance of 1 1/16 miles pushed the speedy son of Two Punch to the limits of his stamina.

He sprang to the front and zipped to a three-length lead down the backstretch. Then he charged gamely down the Fair Grounds' long homestretch, only to be passed near the wire by the fast-closing Crypto Star and Stop Watch.

Bet down to 3-5 after winning seven of nine starts, Smoke Glacken finished a half-length behind the winner. After running the first quarter-mile in a sizzling 22 4/5 seconds and the first half-mile in 45 3/5 seconds, he surrendered grudgingly in the final eighth of a mile.

"When you plan for a race like this, and this is the ultimate goal, sure it's disappointing," said Henry Carroll, a part owner and trainer of Smoke Glacken. "But it's not like he got blown away, and it's not like he didn't dig in and keep trying. He could have chucked it. He showed his class."

Carroll had plotted a course for the 3-year-old Smoke Glacken of increasingly longer races. He passed the six-furlong and mile tests with straight A's.

But this test at the Fair Grounds, where the quarter-mile homestretch is one of the nation's longest, resembled an entrance exam for admission to the Kentucky Derby. It was the test that would determine the year's path for Smoke Glacken.

After the Grade III race, won last year by eventual Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone, Carroll and another of Smoke Glacken's owners pulled the plug on a run for the roses.

"The horse won't be on the Derby trail," said Roxy Roxborough, a part owner of the horse and president of Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which sets odds for sports books around the world. "I think a mile and a sixteenth is probably his max."

In the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, 3-year-olds confront 1 1/4 miles for the first time.

"Let's face it," Carroll said. "If he wins going a mile and a quarter, he's done something his pedigree has never done. Right now, I'd have to say maybe we'll look at other things.

"I mean, let's go to a speed track now and see what happens. Let's go to Monmouth Park. They run a mile and a sixteenth around one turn in New York. And how salty would he be in the Met Mile?"

He also said the Preakness Stakes is a consideration.

"Pimlico is a little more speed conducive with a little shorter stretch," Carroll said. "That would not be out of the realm of possibility."

Pub Date: 3/17/97

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