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SPORTSMAN'S NOTES

Sportsman's Park Daily Notebook

Contact: David Zenner (773) 242-1121 ext. 310
sportsmanspub@aol.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

CASHEL CASTLE HAS FINAL PRE-DERBY TRIAL DRILL

Sandbar Farm's unbeaten 3-year-old Cashel Castle worked a half-mile Tuesday morning at Sportsman's Park getting the distance over a fast track in 48 1/5 seconds. The son of Silver Ghost, tuning up for Saturday's Grade III $100,000 Derby Trial at Churchill Downs, galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 flat. Jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. was aboard for the move but Hall-of-Fame rider Pat Day will have the mount Saturday.

"It was exactly what I was looking for," said trainer Chris Block when asked to assess the move. "I told Eddie that I wanted a sharp half, no slower than 48 and he did just that. We'll take a blood count this morning, and assuming everything comes back okay we'll ship to Churchill on Thursday.

Cashel Castle, who won the seven-furlong Grade III Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland on April 7, is stretching out to a mile for the first time in the Derby Trial

"This will be his toughest test to date, going a mile," Block said of Saturday's race. "Pat says getting a mile should be no problem, especially around one turn. He's done everything we've asked so far. He's coming up to the race real good. What bothers me is that there may be nobody to go out after Mayakovsky. I'm sure we'll be within striking distance, but you know how deadly speed can be if nobody goes after the leader. To be honest, that's my only concern right now."

WALDEN DISTAFFERS SPOTTED WELL THIS WEEKEND

Trainer Elliott Walden will be well represented in this weekend's local headliners. The conditioner is slated to start First Again in Saturday's $100,000 National Jockey Club Oaks and Pompeii in Sunday's Grade III $300,000 Sixty Sails Handicap.

First Again, a daughter of Outflanker, is making her third start of the year after finishing ninth in the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes in Ocala in March and fourth at odds of 83-1 in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland earlier this month. Nine-time Sportsman's Park riding champion Mark Guidry has the mount.

"She should run well," said Walden via phone from Churchill Downs. "We bought this filly last year from Juvenal Diaz. She ran well for us in the Ashland against a tough group. I'm looking forward to running her back."

Grade I stakes winner Pompeii is making her first start of the year after finishing unplaced in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff last fall at Belmont Park.

"We bought her right before the (Grade I) Personal Ensign though John Kimmel saddled her for that race," Walden said. "She put on weight over the winter. She's not a big (mare) so it was important that she put on some weight. She looks good and I expect she'll run well."

Walden said both horses would be shipped here from Churchill on Friday.

SEVEN ENTERED IN NJC OAKS

Topped by the Elliott Walden-trained First Again, a field of seven sophomore fillies passed the entry box Tuesday morning for Saturday's $100,000 National Jockey Club Oaks at a mile and a sixteenth.

The daughter of Outflanker comes in off a fourth-place run in the Grade I $500,000 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland after previously running ninth in the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes at the Ocala Training Center. As a 2-year-old, First Again won the $100,000 Drummond Stakes at Delaware Park and ran third in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie at Arlington Park. Mark Guidry rides.

Set to face the morning-line favorite are: N. Vanier, L. Williamson & B. Culver's Elementary (Chris Emigh); Miles Childers and L.T.B. Inc.'s Emeraldforajudge (Larry Sterling Jr.); Crown's Way Farm's Gracility (Eusebio Razo Jr.); J. Stavros, D. Chadwick & Emerald Green Acres' Our Chequer Flag (Alfredo Juarez Jr.); P. Lauer, W. D. York & J. Merritt's Persimmon Ridge (Eusebio Razo Jr.); and Lazy Lane Farm's Summer Delight (Jesse Campbell).

Of these, only Gracility and Elementary have stakes victories on their respective ledgers. The former, an Illinois-bred daughter of Known Fact, rallied from off the pace to win the $100,000 Violet Stakes over state-bred rivals over this oval on March 30. The latter, by El Prado, captured the $40,000 Miss Mommy Stakes at Hawthorne Race Course last fall.

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