LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) â€” Marlon St. Julien will be riding on Kentucky Derby Day, just as he did in 1993.
This time, however, he'll be riding in the Derby, the first black jockey to do so since Henry King finished 10th on Planet in 1921. His chances of becoming the first black to ride the winner since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902 appear slim with long-shot Curule.
Jenine Sahadi was on the infield at Churchill Downs for the 1981 race. On Saturday, she could be in the winner's circle with The Deputy as first winning female trainer in the 126-year history of the Derby.
The Deputy, the Irish-bred winner of the Santa Anita Derby, probably will be the second betting choice to Fusaichi Pegasus, winner of the Wood Memorial, in a field of 19 3-year-olds.
Trainer Neil Drysdale came to the Derby for the first time in 1992 with A.P. Indy. The colt, who would become Horse of the Year, had to be scratched the morning of the race because of a foot problem.
Drysdale is back with Fusaichi Pegasus, a strong-willed colt the trainer prefers to call playful, and War Chant, another serious contender.
Fusaichi Pegasus likes to look around and occasionally rear on his hind legs. If he can handle the hoopla, he certainly has the talent to become the first winning favorite since Spectacular Bid in 1979.
The bay colt, purchased for $4 million as a yearling by Fusao Sekiguchi of Japan, has been impressive in four wins, including two in stakes, since finishing second in his debut Dec. 11.
During the winter in Florida, when Hal's Hope was establishing himself as a Derby contender, Harold Rose, the 88-year-old breeder, owner and trainer, worried he was getting more attention than his colt.
Rose remained a center of attention this week while telling people he hadn't lost faith in the Florida Derby winner. The colt's stock dropped when he finished last in the eight-horse Blue Grass Stakes on April 11 at Keeneland.
Rose, whose Rexson's Hope finished 10th in the 1984 Derby, and 43-year-old jockey Roger Velez, riding in the race for the first time, say the colt didn't like the racing surface at the Blue Grass.
The Blue Grass was won by High Yield, trained by D. Wayne Lukas. High Yield, Commendable and Exchange Rate will boost to 38 the number of starters in 20 consecutive Derbies for Lukas. He has won four Derbies, including three of the last five with Thunder Gulch (1995), Grindstone (1996) and Charismatic last year.
High Yield will be the 18th Derby mount for Pat Day, whose only win came aboard Lil E. Tee in 1992.
Back for his fifth straight Derby, with Captain Steve, is trainer Bob Baffert. He won in 1997 with Silver Charm and in 1998 with Real Quiet.
For the second straight year the Godolphin Racing stable of Sheiks Mohammed, Matkoum and Hamdan al Maktoum will be represented. Last year, Godolphin finished seventh with Worldly Manner. On Saturday, the sheiks will be represented by China Visit and Curule.
Saddled with another Derby jinx is Anees, the 1999 2-year-old champion. No juvenile champion has won since Spectacular Bid 21 years ago.
Trippi, named for Charlie Trippi, a star running back at Georgia in the 1940s, and Wheelaway will try to become only the second horse to win the Derby without racing as a 2-year-old. It was done by Apollo in 1882.
A full field of 20 3-year-olds was entered for the first time since Swale won in 1984. However, it became the fifth 19-horse field in eight years when Globalize was scratched Friday after being kicked by a pony escorting him from the track.
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