Will Dual Qualifiers Make a Comeback in the 2004 Kentucky Derby?

Will Dual Qualifiers Make a Comeback in the 2004 Kentucky Derby?
By Dick Downey

DQ's dominated the Derby until 1988, when D. Wayne Lukas' filly Winning Colors won. Since then, five Dual Qualifiers have made it to the winner's circle: Unbridled (1990), Sea Hero (1993), Go For Gin (1994), Thunder Gulch (1995) and Silver Charm.

Although this factor's importance has faded, it still has sufficient weight--from 1988 to the present--to be included as one of the 14 factors in The Downey Profile.

The 2004 Kentucky Derby has at least 10 potential DQ starters. If only a minority of them make it to the gate, that would be a far cry from last year's cast, which didn't include a single one. This was a deviation from the average of 3.5 DQ starters per Derby over the years covered by our study.

There is reason to believe that some of these 10 are capable of making it to the starting gate on May 1. The group of 10 doesn't include CHAPEL ROYAL, who will be kept to shorter distances, SIPHONIZER, who's not on the Derby Trail, CUVEE, who is recuperating from an injury, or RULER'S COURT, who is injured and off the Derby Trail.

Decide for yourself if any of these 10 can make it to--or win--the 2004 Kentucky Derby.

ACTION THIS DAY. Winnner of the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Shortly after that, trainer Richard Mandella said the colt might run in the Hollywood Futurity in December, but it was not to be. ACTION THIS DAY was then pointed to the Grade II Santa Catalina at Santa Anita on 1-17, but Mandella changed his mind and aimed the colt at the restricted, $75,000 Sham Stakes instead.

He was a close, closing fourth in the Sham, run at 1 1/8 mile at Santa Anita on 2-8. MASTER DAVID won by a length. BORREGO, PREACHINATTHEBAR and ACTION THIS DAY were just heads apart. This was not a bad effort.

Next time out had been expected to be the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on 3-14. However, Mandella said after the Sham that ACTION THIS DAY's next start might be the Santa Anita Derby. If so, the colt would have only two starts at age three coming into the Kentucky Derby. Sunny's Halo (1983) was the last Derby winner with only two prior starts at age three. Jet Pilot (1947) preceded him.

BIRDSTONE. A half brother to 2003 Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town, and winner of the Grade I Champagne Stakes. He is a May 16 foal and was held out of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Nick Zito said in mid-January that he might be looking for only one stretch-out race for this colt before the Derby. He intends to keep this one, EUROSILVER and THE CLIFF'S EDGE apart in the preps.

On 2-14 at Gulfstream Park, BIRDSTONE won a one mile 70 yard allowance at 1-5 odds. He rated, took over at the top of the stretch, and hit the wire three lengths ahead of CAPEJINSKY, who, although no match for the winner, also ran a big race. The final time was 1:42.40.

EUROSILVER. Winner of the Grade II Lane's End Futurity. After that race he was found to have bucked shins and was kept out of the Breeders' Cup. Trainer Nick Zito is charting a course for him similar to that of EUROSILVER.

The colt easily won his first race in 2004, a $36,000 seven furlong allowance at Gulfstream Park on 2-4. There wasn't much competition and rider Castellano reminded the colt to keep about his business several times in deep stretch. He was timed in 1:24.45 after sitting off the hip of opening fractions of :23.16 and :45.92. At TheDowneyProfile.com, we disagree with the high Beyer rating assigned to him in that race. The prior dirt race an hour before came up very slow, but the dirt race 30 minutes later did not.


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