Owners Vance, Dance sweeten to No. 20 post for Lemon Drop Kid

Maryland couple grow more comfortable with idea of breaking from far outside

April 30, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The first reaction was unprintable. By yesterday morning, however, Jinny Vance and Laddie Dance had mulled it over and decided that post position 20 wasn't so bad for their Lemon Drop Kid after all.

"You've got time to maneuver," Vance said.

"After a mile they'll be dropping like flies," added Dance.

"That last quarter's when you need to be clear," said Scotty Schulhofer, the colt's trainer.

"It isn't all bad, if you analyze it," concluded Dance.

And so Lemon Drop Kid, the Kentucky Derby horse owned by Marylanders Vance and Dance, will break from the far-outside post, where only one Derby winner has broken before.

He will also be part of the mutuel field for wagering purposes. That means if you want to bet on Lemon Drop Kid, you won't get the odds you would have otherwise, but you will get five horses for the price of one. The others are Ecton Park, K One King, Kimberlite Pipe and Valhol.

Although Lemon Drop Kid was one of last year's most promising juveniles, he has not kept pace with his fellow 3-year-olds. He won an allowance race at Gulfstream Park and finished fifth in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Since the Blue Grass, his jockey, John Velazquez, abandoned him for Three Ring. The Daily Racing Form criticized his workouts. And he drew the dreaded post position 20.

Vance and Dance, who are married, haven't lost faith. They own Taylor's Purchase Farm in Sparks. Neither has Schulhofer, a hall of fame trainer. He loved Lemon Drop Kid before the Blue Grass. Does he still?

"More so," he said.

He explained: The Kingmambo colt had a rough trip in the Blue Grass. He needed the race. Velazquez jumped off only after Schulhofer criticized his Blue Grass ride. And the Racing Form folks must have been watching the wrong horse.

"If he doesn't win," Schulhofer said, "we won't have the excuse that he's not fit enough."

Godolphin breezes

Godolphin Racing continued its unorthodox training methods, sending out Worldly Manner and Aljabr for five-furlong breezes yesterday, two days before the Derby. Their times: Worldly Manner, 1 minute, 2 seconds; Aljabr, 1 minute, 2 3/5 seconds.

Horses hardly ever work this close to the Derby.

"They were just nice works, not very fast," said Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, head of Godolphin in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Dubai. "This is what we do at home."

Hard Scuffle winner

Trained by F. Bruce Miller and ridden by Chip Miller, Popular Gigalo won the Hard Scuffle Stakes, a steeplechase Grade I event, yesterday at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old gelding completed the 2 1/16-mile course in 3: 47.76 and returned $25.80 to win.

Lafitte the Pirate finished second and Moshe third, followed by Sovereign Key, Spring Salute, Approaching Squall, Rarity Bay, Darn Tipalarm, Neruda, Devil's Reach, Commanders Palace and Maipo.

The race was the first of the inaugural Steeplechase Triple Crown. The second leg will be at Pimlico the Thursday before the Preakness.

Pub Date: 4/30/99

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