TRIPLE CROWN RATINGS
Career Horse S 1 2 3 Earnings 1. Spend a Buck 13 9 2 2 $3,998,509 2. Tank’s Prospect 13 5 2 2 $1,355,645 3. Chief’s Crown 14 9 3 1 $1,349,422 4. Stephan’s Odyssey 10 4 2 1 $844,990 5. Fast Account 14 2 6 1 $169,330 6. El Basco 15 3 3 1 $303,220 7. Banner Bob 14 7 3 2 $481,296 8. Creme Fraiche 12 4 5 0 $383,264 9. Smile 7 6 1 0 $450,850 10. Clever Allemont 8 6 0 1 $172,948
REMARKS: El Basco winning Saturday’s Belmont Stakes? Tommy Trotter, the director of racing at Chicago’s Arlington Park, is one observer who thinks it can happen.
“He’s got a lot of late run to him,” Trotter said. “So the Belmont distance could suit him. Chief’s Crown will be favored, but I don’t like his chances going a mile and a half.”
Chief’s Crown has been favored in all of this year’s Triple Crown races. He went into the Kentucky Derby as last year’s 2-year-old champion and winner of this year’s Flamingo and Blue Grass Stakes, then ran third at Churchill Downs.
Two weeks later, against a lesser field in the Preakness, Chief’s Crown again was the public’s choice, but was run down in the stretch and finished second to Tank’s Prospect. If Chief’s Crown is favored at Belmont Park Saturday and loses again, he will be only the third horse in the Triple Crown series to have been picked three times and never have won.
With Angel Cordero replacing Don MacBeth in the saddle, Chief’s Crown will probably go to the lead and try to last, which is the way many Belmonts have been won.
But El Basco seems to have the finishing kick that should make for an interesting stretch run. He was a fast-closing third and just missed second behind the victorious Spend a Buck and runner-up Creme Fraiche in the Jersey Derby a week ago. Before that, he posted a handy victory over the Belmont track in the Withers mile.
El Basco, along with Chief’s Crown and Cutlass Reality, will have a new rider in the Belmont. Veteran Jacinto Vasquez will replace Robbie Davis on El Basco, and MacBeth, with something to prove, has landed on Cutlass Reality. Other probable starters include Tank’s Prospect, Stephan’s Odyssey, Fast Account, Creme Fraiche, Important Business and Southern Sultan.
Proud Truth is out of the race with a broken leg, just an extension of the bad luck that has been following John Galbreath and his son Dan this year. The Galbreaths have been unable to unload their Pittsburgh Pirates, a money-losing, tail-end team that also has been the focus of a grand-jury investigation into drug use by players, and they’ve also lost their second good 3-year-old. Script Ohio was sidelined by knee surgery in Florida early in the year and has yet to return to action.
“We though Proud Truth would have had a good shot in the Belmont,” Dan Galbreath said. “He wore blinkers for the first time in winning the Peter Pan and by holding him out of the Preakness we thought we’d have a fresher horse for the Belmont, where the mile-and-a-half seemed to be his distance.”
Now, Proud Truth will have to wait for the fall, when he may get a chance for a rematch with Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck.
Spend a Buck, who skipped the Preakness and won’t be entered in the Belmont, has had his reputation challenged because he was unable to dominate a mediocre field while winning the Jersey Derby by a neck.
But Creme Fraiche and El Basco, who ran 2-3, have developed into capable horses and may be factors in the 3-year-old division later this year. If Tommy Trotter is right, El Basco could be a factor as early as this Saturday.
Advisory panel for The Times’ Triple Crown Ratings: Lenny Hale, racing secretary at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga; Frank (Jimmy) Kilroe, vice president for racing at Santa Anita; and Tommy Trotter, director of racing at Arlington Park and racing secretary at Gulfstream Park.