Back in Run for the Roses, Motion has to act fast

Kentucky Derby Notebook

May 01, 2008|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Fair Hill-based trainer Graham Motion had a little more excitement in his morning routine than he would have liked during his first Kentucky Derby week in 10 years.

As Motion was bringing Adriano back from his morning gallop, another horse, who had thrown his rider, ran loose and came worrisomely close to Motion and his A.P. Indy colt.

The trainer, seeing the loose horse in his peripheral vision, quickly directed his pony and Adriano into the empty shedrow of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas' barn.

"Wayne asked me if I needed a stall," said Motion, last here in 1998 with 11th-place finisher Chilito. "Hopefully, some of his [Lukas'] Derby luck will rub off."

`First Saturday' opens tomorrow

The First Saturday In May, the documentary detailing the dreams of five trainers attempting to have entries in the 2006 Kentucy Derby, will open in Baltimore at the Rotunda tomorrow for a two-week run.

While trainer Michael Matz and his 2006 Derby winner Barbaro are part of the story, the Hennegan brothers, who created the movie, did not deviate from their original story line despite the saga that developed around Barbaro when he was injured in the Preakness.

"We were approached by several people who wanted us to basically turn it into a Barbaro tribute to cash in on the situation," Brad Hennegan said. "But the story we wanted to tell was the dream. ... Our film is basically about Americana, family and, in the end, about people."

Just be sharp

Bsharpsonata, trained by Maryland's Tim Salzman, went for a two-mile gallop yesterday morning in preparation for tomorrow's Kentucky Oaks and came back looking fit and ready.

It's a condition she'll have to maintain, as she breaks from the No. 10 post in the 12-horse field.

"It doesn't bother me," said John Salzman, Tim's father, who has been acting as trainer for his son, who was to arrive from Baltimore yesterday afternoon. "It's a mile and an eighth race and there is plenty of run to the first turn. As long as she gets away from there in good order, we'll be fine."

Funny Cide's new career

Most Kentucky Derby winners wind up on beautiful breeding farms "making hay" with fillies.

"Well," trainer Barclay Tagg said, "Funny Cide doesn't have that opportunity."

Funny Cide is a gelding, so no early retirement or fancy breeding farm for him.

Instead, the 2003 champion, who was retired last summer, is earning his keep as a track pony at Belmont Park. As such, he is being taught to calmly walk other racehorses to the starting gate.

"I don't know if he'll make it as a pony," Tagg said. "It's hard for him to settle down and be a pony. He was a monster [as a racehorse]. I would have liked to have sent him somewhere, to people I know who are very, very good at the pony-training process. But if I'd done that, and something would have happened to him, I'd get the blame. I have to be very careful with him."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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