Concerto favored in Jim Beam Stakes Turfway Park entrant is trained by Tammaro, owned by Steinbrenner

March 28, 1997|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

FLORENCE, Ky. -- Three days before baseball's Opening Day, George Steinbrenner will turn his attention to horse racing.

His Concerto, trained by Marylander John J. Tammaro III, is the early favorite in tomorrow's $600,000 Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky.

Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, is scheduled to be in attendance when Concerto breaks from the No. 6 post in his sternest test. A winner of five races in eight starts, Concerto could punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby with a solid effort in the 1 1/8 -mile Jim Beam.

Mike Battaglia, the track announcer and oddsmaker, made Concerto the tepid 3-1 favorite in a field of 11 3-year-olds, including stellar survivors of early Derby preps in Florida and California.

"This is as strong, if not stronger, than any field we've had going into the race," Battaglia said of the Jim Beam, which in 15 runnings has produced winners such as Summer Squall, Hansel, Lil E. Tee, Prairie Bayou and Serena's Song.

But the starting gate will be crowded with horses who have not read the Daily Racing Form. They won't know that Concerto has lost only once in his last six starts -- by less than a length in the Laurel Futurity to Captain Bodgit, another Maryland-trainee who just happens to be a favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.

Breaking inside Concerto from post No. 5 is the 7-2 second choice, the California invader Funonthe- run. Recent winner of the San Rafael Stakes, one of the West Coast's top Derby preps, Funontherun is owned in part by musician Herb Alpert. He, too, is scheduled to attend the race.

The undercard features two runners by Allen's Prospect, Maryland's leading sire. The Donald H. Barr-trained In C C's Honor starts in the $75,000 Rushaway Stakes, and the Tammaro-trained Secret Prospect races in the $110,000 Queen Breeders' Cup.

Jim Beam Stakes

Where: Turfway Park, Florence, Ky.

When: Tomorrow

TV: ESPN, delayed broadcast at 6 p.m.

Data: Grade II stakes, $600,000, 1 1/8 miles

The field:

PP, Horse .......... Jockey .......... Odds

1 Celt. Warrior .... Torres .......... 30-1

2 Hoxie ............ Arguello ........ 15-1

3 Twin Spires ...... Barton .......... 20-1

4 Air Cool ......... Platts .......... 20-1

5 Funon'run ........ Almeida ......... 7-2

6 Concerto ......... Marquez ......... 3-1

7 Jack Flash ....... Perret .......... 8-1

8 Sham.Davis ....... McCauley ........ 8-1

9 Mercer Mill ...... Martinez ........ 15-1

10 Inex'good ....... McCarron ........ 4-1

11 Jules ........... Santos .......... 6-1

Pub Date: 3/28/97

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