Sweet Catomine's Owner: Derby or Nothing

Marty Wygod, owner of Sweet Catomine, said Tuesday on a national teleconference that if his filly does not run in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), she most likely will not ship to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Sweet Catomine is scheduled to face colts this weekend in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).

"I think she just has to run her race, and if circumstances are that she gets beat with a legitimate excuse, as long as she comes out of the race well, we would have an open mind to running in the Kentucky Derby," Wygod said. "I think the probability is that we'll either run in the Derby or we won't go back to Kentucky. If she's not 100% right, I doubt we'd go back there for the Oaks. And if she's right, we'll probably run in the Derby."

Wygod said he and trainer Julio Canani began having thoughts about running in the Derby after the homebred daughter of Storm Cat's brilliant score in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).

"We always felt that if she could do what she has to against the boys in the Santa Anita Derby, then we'd seriously consider the Kentucky Derby," Wygod said. "I had that in the back of my mind after the Breeders' Cup."

Canani said Sweet Catomine is coming into the Santa Anita Derby as good as can be expected.

"She's doing great and training super," he said. "I expect her to run well on Saturday. I never trained this filly hard. I let her do what she wanted to do and I never asked her for anything. She carries her weight really well and she looks super. I feel very comfortable with the way she's training and the way she looks."

Wygod said Sweet Catomine's training, like most of horses in California this winter, was compromised by the bad weather.

"She didn't come into the first race right because of the bad weather and missed training," he said. "Then we did have some interruptions between the first and second races so it really wasn't as we had hoped it would be, but she's come through it OK."

Sweet Catomine has had her detractors this winter, many feeling she's not as good as she was at two. The large field that is expected for the Santa Anita Derby might indicate a number of rival trainers feel the same way.

"I don't care about the opinions of other people," Canani said. "There is so much jealousy in this business. I just get up in the morning and I do my job; that's it. All I can say is that she's as good as she's ever been."

Wygod added, "I'm not fazed by what other people say. She does have a different look than she had last year. She doesn't have the weight she did last year, but she looks fantastic."