Spend a BuckSpend a Buck figured to be one of the favorites in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). After all, his time in the April 20 Garden State Stakes came within two-fifths of a second of Secretariat's world record."The nine-furlong Garden State was a romp for Spend a Buck, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Diaz' Hunter Farm," wrote The Blood-Horse's Don Zamarelli. "The colt won by 9 1/2 lengths in track-record time of 1:45 4/5, only two-fifths of a second slower than Secretariat's world record established in the inaugural Marlboro Cup at Belmont Park in 1973."
Jockey Angel Cordero couldn't wait for the Run for the Roses. "This horse is as fast a 3-year-old as I ever get to ride, as fast as Seattle Slew," he told Zamarelli. "You haven't seen the best from this horse yet. Maybe he is waiting for the Derby, but I ride this horse anywhere, even in Japan."It's hard to say if Spend a Buck was faster than Seattle Slew, but one thing is certain: his Derby time was faster. Spend a Buck's time, 2:00 1/5, was two full seconds faster than Slew's clocking and third fastest of all time.Diaz, tempted by a $2-million bonus, ran Spend a Buck in the Jersey Derby instead of the Preakness (gr. I). Tank's Prospect won the Preakness and Spend a Buck won the Jersey Derby. Crème Fraiche took the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in the absence of Spend a Buck.