For Invisible Ink, what a difference one year makes

Nearly dead last year, horse beats the odds to finish 2nd at Derby

Notebook

Kentucky Derby

May 06, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Nearly dead one year ago, Invisible Ink proved very much alive yesterday as he captured second at odds of 55-to-1 in the Kentucky Derby.

He charged from ninth in the final turn, passing one horse after another until he finally collared Congaree at the wire. The only horse he couldn't catch was the winner, Monarchos, who cut in front of him at the head of the stretch.

Invisible Ink's jockey, John Velazquez, objected to the stewards that Monarchos impeded his colt. The stewards ruled that Monarchos had not."[Monarchos] came over and almost touched my horse," Velazquez said. "I had to steady for two jumps. I probably wouldn't have claimed foul in any other race. I figured that in the Derby, I should take a shot."

Said Todd Pletcher, Invisible Ink's trainer: "It looked like Monarchos probably bothered us a little bit, but not enough to affect who won the race."

That Invisible Ink was second-best in the Kentucky Derby was amazing by itself. He became so ill one year ago that he lost 400 of his 1,000 pounds. He suffered from a variety of ailments, including ulcers and a reaction to medicine.

The insurance company holding his $200,000 policy gave his owners permission to euthanize him. But his owner, the John Fort-led Peachtree Stable, refused to give up hope. Invisible Ink survived, and in the Derby he ran the race of his life.

Of his second entrant, Balto Star, Pletcher said: "It was just too fast. I think the pace played on everyone up front."

The horses first (Songandaprayer), second (Balto Star), third (Keats) and fourth (Millennium Wind) in the early going, finished 11th (Millennium Wind), 13th (Songandaprayer), 14th (Balto Star) and 16th (Keats).

Bringing up the rear

Talk Is Money, the $1.8 million colt trained by Laurel-based John Scanlan, finished last, so far back he walked across the finish line. His jockey, Jerry Bailey, began easing up Talk Is Money just before the final turn.

"We had good position early," Bailey said. "We started to fade at the half-mile pole."

Talk Is Money appeared to be all right as he walked back to the barn.

In the paddock before the race, Bailey waited to mount the temperamental colt until he was ready to leave the paddock and walk through the tunnel to the track.

Salvaging Baffert's day

Congaree salvaged the day for Bob Baffert, whose second entrant, favorite Point Given, finished fifth. Congaree held on to third after claiming the lead at the head of the stretch.

"Congaree perhaps ran the best race of them all," Baffert said. "He was close to the hot pace and still ran on. That sets him up nicely for the Preakness."

Hard-luck trip

Dollar Bill, the bettors' second choice at 6-1, had another hard-luck trip. He finished 15th.

"Just as we were getting into the far turn, my horse was starting to run," said Pat Day, Dollar Bill's jockey. "Eddie [Delahoussaye on Jamaican Rum] ran up on the outside of me. Somebody was stopping, and Eddie ducked back to the inside of him, and when he did that he closed the hole on me, and that was it. I have just been unlucky with this colt."

Records set on undercard

Track records were set in three of the first four races, including a new mark for seven furlongs in the Churchill Downs Handicap.

Alannan won the race in 1:20 2/5, breaking the mark of 1:21 1/5 set by Distorted Humor in May 1998.

In the first race, a $33,000 allowance, Baffert's Love at Noon set a record for 6 1/2 furlongs at 1:14 1/5, a second faster than Bet on Sunshine's mark in July 2000.

In the fourth race, there was a rare dead heat in track-record time in the five-furlong Three Chimneys Juvenile. Runaway Choice and Open Story hit the line together in 57 1/5, two-fifths better than the mark set by Western Dreamer in 1995.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

On the money

Sun horse racing writer Tom Keyser correctly predicted Monarchos' victory in the Kentucky Derby.

Keyser was one of 29 media members whose predictions were published in yesterday's Sun. Only three others picked Monarchos to win. Two had Monarchos second, and two predicted he would finish third.

Runner-up Invisible Ink didn't show up on anyone's picks.

Five correctly had Congaree finishing third.

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