Sweetnorthernsaint `lucky' to get 11th post

`Saint' fourth choice at 10-1

Brother Derek is 3-1 morning-line favorite

May 04, 2006|By SANDRA MCKEE | SANDRA MCKEE,SUN REPORTER

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Sitting among the other trainers and owners at Fourth St. Live in downtown, waiting his turn to select Sweetnorthernsaint's starting spot for the 132nd Kentucky Derby, Maryland trainer Mike Trombetta feared he'd wind up way outside in the starting gate.

Instead, Trombetta was able to select the 11th post, between A.P. Warrior and Private Vow.

"Selecting 13 deep, to wind up 11th, I feel we wound up lucky," Trombetta said.

Nerves, held at bay for weeks, finally struck not only Trombetta, a rookie, at this draw, but veterans too, as the trainers for morning-line favorite Brother Derek and Lawyer Ron had to cope with making the 15th and 16th picks, respectively.

"I thought it was going to be trouble," said Brother Derek's trainer, Dan Hendricks, who was last at the Derby in 1984. "I was scared we'd have a choice between 1, 2, 3, 4 and 20. I didn't realize people would pick from the middle in.

"But this morning, I thought it was the end of the world. Later, I was over it. How can you be upset? You're in the Kentucky Derby. But, initially, it did get to me a little. You do everything you do to get here, and it's not just about the horse. ... It's 30 years to get to this point and to hear that, the 16th pick. ... It's the first real hiccup we've had."

Brother Derek is the 3-1 morning-line favorite, followed by Barbaro and Lawyer Ron at 4-1. Sweetnorthernsaint is fourth choice at 10-1.

"I don't understand what I did to make my horse the No. 1 choice," said Hendricks. "Barbaro is undefeated, while my horse has lost twice. I think we both deserve the top billing. I'm very happy my horse is No. 1, but I think the betting will be close. ... I have all respect for Barbaro and his trainer.'`

Barbaro, who is based with trainer Michael Matz at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, will start in post No. 8, as Matz made the fourth selection, saying his jockey, Edgar Prado, "didn't want to be too far outside."`

When trainer John Holthus made the 15th selection, he chose post No. 17 for Lawyer Ron and was one of few trainers to acknowledge he didn't like his starting spot.

"It's not real good," he said. "But I didn't want to be down inside. Shortly after we break, I'd like to see him within six or seven lengths of the lead."

It was the second bit of possibly upsetting news for the Lawyer Ron camp yesterday. Attorney Ron Bamberger, for whom the horse is named and the executor of the horse's late owner Jim Hines' estate, said he is in negotiations to sell the horse.

"No one in the family wants him sold at this point," said Bamberger, who released no details, other than to say the horse will run with the Hines' stable silks and under Hines' name even if the sale is completed before the Derby. "It's still Jim's horse, and I wouldn't negotiate any deal that didn't agree to that."

Bamberger said the Hines family will keep a percentage of the horse whenever a sale is completed.

"We're all aware of the business side, and they've all agreed what I decide will be done," he said. "We all know if Jim was around he would not be sold, period."

Trainer John Shirreffs, who had the first pick, chose the No. 10 post, the same spot from which his horse Giacomo won the Derby last year. And Bob Baffert chose the No. 5 post for Maryland-bred Point Determined, saying his horse is "pretty laid back and tactical," capable of handling the more inside post.

smm2me@aol.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.