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By Gary West and Gary West,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | May 15, 1999
The Kentucky Derby wasn't definitive, so most observers are still waiting for some horse to step forward and prove himself clearly superior in this class of 3-year-olds. But the wait could continue long after today's 124th Preakness, because this group has no standout. The best of this year's sophomores are evenly matched, and many of them have the same stalking style. That's why the Derby was so, well, eventful, and that's why this Preakness remains so difficult to analyze. But this much is clear: The Preakness rests temptingly in an unlocked jewelry box. It's just begging to be stolen, for the field lacks any serious front-running speed.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | October 3, 1999
Crab Grass, a 5-year-old mare trained by Marylander Barclay Tagg, had only to finish first, second or third yesterday to win the third annual MATCH series (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships).But when the gate opened for the $100,000 Sweet and Sassy Stakes at Delaware Park in Stanton, Crab Grass was nowhere to be found. She did not leave the starting gate. Finally, after several seconds, with the rest of the field out of range, she loped out as if going for a Sunday stroll."In 30 years of training horses," Tagg said, "I've never had that happen to me."
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SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | June 5, 1999
ELMONT, N.Y. -- Elliott Walden considers the score tied, same as last year.The trainer from Kentucky acknowledges that his horse, Menifee, finished second to Charismatic in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. But because Menifee encountered a wide, rough trip in the Derby, Walden says, he believes Menifee was the better horse."In my mind the score's one-to-one," Walden said, "even though I know it's actually zero-to-two."Walden said the same thing last year after his Victory Gallop finished second to Real Quiet in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, races remarkably similar to this year's versions.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | August 28, 1999
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- As eight 3-year-olds battle today for $1 million and the prestige of winning the Travers, another and perhaps more intriguing race is taking place among the top contenders.Menifee and Lemon Drop Kid, and maybe even Cat Thief, will fight for recognition as the most accomplished male horse of their generation. Charismatic is the current leader, but his hold on the top spot is precarious. After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Charismatic suffered a broken leg in the Belmont and was retired.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | April 11, 1999
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Menifee had never won a stakes race. Neither had Adonis. Valhol had never even won a race.Yet those three colts, on probably the most critical day for gauging horses' chances in the Kentucky Derby, captured the last major Derby preps and scrambled the Derby picture as efficiently as Julia Childs whips eggs.Yesterday, Menifee benefited from a skillful ride by Pat Day and drove to a convincing victory in the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Although Menifee pranced into the race with four victories in five tries, he had never won a stakes, never proved he could run with the best 3-year-olds farther than a mile.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | August 28, 1999
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- As eight 3-year-olds battle today for $1 million and the prestige of winning the Travers, another and perhaps more intriguing race is taking place among the top contenders.Menifee and Lemon Drop Kid, and maybe even Cat Thief, will fight for recognition as the most accomplished male horse of their generation. Charismatic is the current leader, but his hold on the top spot is precarious. After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Charismatic suffered a broken leg in the Belmont and was retired.
SPORTS
By Ken Murray and Ken Murray,SUN STAFF | May 16, 1999
Minus the fierce bumping, the outside route and the furious finish of two weeks ago, Preakness favorite Menifee still finished second to Charismatic yesterday.With no excuses and virtually no complaints."When you're second in Grade I's and first in Grade I's, your horse runs a great race," said trainer Elliott Walden, who arrived at Pimlico last week with the hottest horse and left with another near-victory.The Preakness jinx?For the second straight year, Walden saddled the favorite here.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 2, 1999
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- For the second straight year a horse trained by Elliott Walden -- perhaps the best horse in the race -- lost the Kentucky Derby because of an outside post position and an extremely wide trip.Yesterday, Menifee broke from post 18 but still nearly caught the winner, falling a neck short. Last year, Victory Gallop started from post 13, charged valiantly down the stretch but fell a half-length short of Real Quiet."He was wide, the widest horse in the first turn," Walden said of Menifee.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | October 3, 1999
Crab Grass, a 5-year-old mare trained by Marylander Barclay Tagg, had only to finish first, second or third yesterday to win the third annual MATCH series (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships).But when the gate opened for the $100,000 Sweet and Sassy Stakes at Delaware Park in Stanton, Crab Grass was nowhere to be found. She did not leave the starting gate. Finally, after several seconds, with the rest of the field out of range, she loped out as if going for a Sunday stroll."In 30 years of training horses," Tagg said, "I've never had that happen to me."
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 12, 1999
The bird pooped on Arthur Hancock III in the paddock at Keeneland. It was a big load, splattering on Hancock's shoulder.This was two days before the Blue Grass Stakes, the race in which Menifee, whom Hancock bred and co-owns, would prove whether he belonged in the Kentucky Derby. Hancock's aunt had always said that a bird pooping on you meant good luck."I thought, `Well, that's interesting,' " Hancock said yesterday in his Kentucky drawl. " `Maybe we'll be lucky in the Blue Grass.' "About 30 minutes later, back in his seat at Keeneland, Hancock heard a startled voice in the next box: "Oh my God, will you look at that."
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | August 27, 1999
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Menifee will launch his assault on the 3-year-old championship tomorrow in the $1 million Travers Stakes from the No. 1 post and as the 9-5 morning-line favorite.Lemon Drop Kid yesterday drew post No. 6, the same slot from which he won the Belmont. At 9-2, Lemon Drop Kid was the oddsmaker's fourth choice behind the 3-1 Cat Thief and the 7-2 Ecton Park.Known as the "midsummer Derby," the Travers should begin to answer the question of which horse is the best 3-year-old in the country.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | June 5, 1999
ELMONT, N.Y. -- Elliott Walden considers the score tied, same as last year.The trainer from Kentucky acknowledges that his horse, Menifee, finished second to Charismatic in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. But because Menifee encountered a wide, rough trip in the Derby, Walden says, he believes Menifee was the better horse."In my mind the score's one-to-one," Walden said, "even though I know it's actually zero-to-two."Walden said the same thing last year after his Victory Gallop finished second to Real Quiet in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, races remarkably similar to this year's versions.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | June 4, 1999
ELMONT, N.Y. -- Seeking to become the 12th horse to win a Triple Crown, Charismatic jogged a mile and then galloped a mile yesterday on his first full day at Belmont Park.He stepped onto the track at 5: 30 a.m., as soon as it opened. He walked off uncharacteristically soaked with sweat."He got a little bit more on the muscle than he has been," said D. Wayne Lukas, his trainer. "But there's a lot of activity around here."Lukas also led Charismatic through the paddock so the colt could begin getting accustomed to the pre-race saddling area.
SPORTS
By Ken Murray and Ken Murray,SUN STAFF | May 16, 1999
Minus the fierce bumping, the outside route and the furious finish of two weeks ago, Preakness favorite Menifee still finished second to Charismatic yesterday.With no excuses and virtually no complaints."When you're second in Grade I's and first in Grade I's, your horse runs a great race," said trainer Elliott Walden, who arrived at Pimlico last week with the hottest horse and left with another near-victory.The Preakness jinx?For the second straight year, Walden saddled the favorite here.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 15, 1999
This is the rematch, the race for settling scores after the Kentucky Derby that didn't settle anything.So many horses encountered trouble in the Derby -- bumping, blocking, traffic jams -- that nine, maybe even 10, horses from the race will line up today for the rematch in the 124th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.No more than eight Derby horses have returned for the Preakness since the 1930s. That's a sign that this year's trainers and owners of these hot-shot 3-year-olds believe they never got the chance to show their stuff in the Derby.
SPORTS
By Gary West and Gary West,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | May 15, 1999
The Kentucky Derby wasn't definitive, so most observers are still waiting for some horse to step forward and prove himself clearly superior in this class of 3-year-olds. But the wait could continue long after today's 124th Preakness, because this group has no standout. The best of this year's sophomores are evenly matched, and many of them have the same stalking style. That's why the Derby was so, well, eventful, and that's why this Preakness remains so difficult to analyze. But this much is clear: The Preakness rests temptingly in an unlocked jewelry box. It's just begging to be stolen, for the field lacks any serious front-running speed.
SPORTS
By Ken Murray and Ken Murray,SUN STAFF | May 14, 1999
Elliott Walden thumbs through the collection of hand-printed notes from Scripture he keeps tucked in his wallet, searching for the right one. It escapes him at first because there are so many. Then, finally, success."Proverbs 21: 31," Walden says brightly. " `The horse is made ready for the day of the battle, but the victory rests with the Lord.'"That's awesome. That's the way it will be on Saturday. All we can do is get him ready for the battle."When Walden takes Menifee into tomorrow's 124th Preakness, the up-and-coming trainer will lean on the wisdom of the biblical Solomon for bottom-line perspective.
SPORTS
By Steve Davidowitz and Steve Davidowitz,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | May 15, 1999
After the Demolition Derby was run at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, not a whole lot was really learned about many in the 19-horse field. That said, there is no disputing that Menifee made a strong impression, gaining gobs of ground late while weaving his way between horses to just miss catching long-shot winner Charismatic, who had a good striking position and clear sailing throughout.It was equally apparent that the classy filly Excellent Meeting also had a strong late response after suffering even more dangerous traffic congestion than Menifee.
SPORTS
By Steve Davidowitz and Steve Davidowitz,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | May 15, 1999
After the Demolition Derby was run at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, not a whole lot was really learned about many in the 19-horse field. That said, there is no disputing that Menifee made a strong impression, gaining gobs of ground late while weaving his way between horses to just miss catching long-shot winner Charismatic, who had a good striking position and clear sailing throughout.It was equally apparent that the classy filly Excellent Meeting also had a strong late response after suffering even more dangerous traffic congestion than Menifee.
NEWS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 15, 1999
Charismatic is the horse chasing the Triple Crown, but he represents just one of the compelling stories in today's 124th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.Menifee, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, will be the Preakness favorite. And Worldly Manner, the horse from the Middle East who finished seventh in the Derby, adds international flair.The second jewel of the Triple Crown is a fitting sequel to the Derby: the comeback kid on Charismatic, a trainer seeking a third straight win, a filly taking on males and a controversial horse prompting jokes about batteries.
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