Trainer Carl Nafzger was chatting up
well-wishers at his barn, with Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense
tucked safely away after his morning workout.
The winner's garland of red roses was stashed out of sight,
making Sunday feel like any other morning at Churchill Downs.
Except Nafzger was busy quieting Triple Crown talk about 14 hours
after Street Sense's 2¼-length victory.
And the 65-year-old trainer wasn't much for discussing the
Preakness that looms in two weeks, either.
"That's not even on the radar now," he said. "Ask me next
Monday. Make an appointment."
Street Sense will be in Baltimore on May 19 for the second leg
of the Triple Crown. Six times in the last 10 years the Derby
winner has gone on to win the Preakness, setting up a Triple try.
Although initially resistant, Nafzger briefly let his mind
wander to a possible sweep of the Derby, Preakness and Belmont.
"As soon as we win the Preakness, we'll go to the Belmont," he
Street Sense will stay at Churchill Downs and train on his home
track leading to the Preakness. Nafzger plans to bring the colt to
Pimlico three days before the race.
Nafzger has previously saddled two Preakness starters, including
second-place Unbridled in 1990. That colt gave Nafzger his first
Hard Spun, the second-place Derby finisher, will challenge
Street Sense in the 1 3-16-mile Preakness. Other possible holdovers
from the Derby are third-place Curlin, fifth-place Sedgefield and
Teuflesberg, who finished 17th.
With Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip looking on Saturday,
Street Sense picked his way through traffic and roared from 19th
place in the 20-horse Derby field to win with powerful
"I knew if the horse kicked, he'd get there," Nafzger said.
"He was long back in the Breeders' Cup, too."
Street Sense won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile six months ago at
Churchill, coming from 13th place to win by 10 lengths.
"I've seen him six and 12 lengths off the pace," Nafzger said.
"Whatever sets up, that's what I've seen him do."
Street Sense became the first Juvenile winner to come back in
the spring and win the roses, ending an 0-for-23 jinx. He also was
the first 2-year-old champion to win the Derby since Spectacular
Bid in 1979 and the first colt to win with two or fewer prep races
since Sunny's Halo in 1983.
"Maybe two preps is what's needed," Nafzger said.
Outside his barn, trainer Larry Jones held Hard Spun as the colt
had his feet washed off. Then they walked a few laps around the
barn before Hard Spun went into his stall.
"I'm just so happy I didn't screw it all up," Jones said
Hard Spun led all the way until Street Sense had taken care of
most of the field in the final quarter-mile. Hard Spun came into
the Derby on a six-week layoff - one more week than Barbaro had
been idled before winning last year.
"We were told we couldn't do it," Jones said, pointing out
that Curlin was criticized for having just three career starts and
none as a 2-year-old.
"We all got to the races the best way we could," Jones said.
"Everyone marched to the beat of their own drum."
Hard Spun will return to his Delaware Park home Monday and await
the Preakness. Mario Pino, Maryland's winningest jockey, will be
aboard as they take on Street Sense again.
"This is Calvin Borel's track and he's hard to beat here,"
Jones said, referring to the Derby-winning jockey. "But we are
going to Pino country and hopefully the Preakness will be a
A majority of the 20 Derby horses will skip the Preakness,
including trainer Todd Pletcher's record-tying five starters: Any
Given Saturday, Circular Quay, Cowtown Cat, Sam. P and Scat Daddy.
But Pletcher will have a presence in Baltimore with King of the
Roxy, second in the Santa Anita Derby.
The Preakness field is limited to 14 starters, and other likely
new challengers will be: Xchanger, whose owner made a late decision
to skip the Derby; Lexington Stakes winner Slew's Tizzy; Chelokee,
trained by Michael Matz; C P West; and either Derby Trial winner
Flying First Class or Starbase, both trained by D. Wayne Lukas.
A year ago, Bernardini skipped the Derby and won the Preakness,
a victory overshadowed by the breakdown of Barbaro.
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