Tiger Hunt still outside possibility for Derby.

Tiger Hunt still outside possibility for Derby.

Team Valor

Tiger Hunt to Debut in Northern Spur; Derby Still Under Consideration

Team Valor's Tiger Hunt, who has not started since his fourth-place finish in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), will make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday's one-mile Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn Park, and if he should run a big race, he may still be pointed for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

Tiger Hunt's stablemate, Shadowland, who runs in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), galloped a mile on Tuesday, then tacked on a half-mile in :50 3/5 at the end of it for trainer Ralph Nicks. The son of Distant View was second in the Lecomte Stakes before a nightmarish trip in the Louisiana Derby.

On Monday, Tiger Hunt, drilled a half-mile in a bullet :47 1/5 at Oaklawn, the fastest of 22 works at the distance. His best efforts last year were his victory in the Cradle Stakes at River Downs and his second-place finish in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II).

Others pointing for the $1 million Arkansas Derby are Smarty Jones, Borrego, Purge, Mr. Jester, Harvard Avenue, Pro Prado, Tricky Taboo, Mamdo Train, Hasslefree, and Foxtrot Oscar.

Many feel if there is one horse who can defeat Smarty Jones it is the California invader Borrego, who was second in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and Sham Stakes (gr. II).

"Nothing seems to bother this horse," trainer Beau Greely said on a national teleconference. "We shipped him to Louisiana and it was pretty humid down there, and he performed well, and actually put on some weight after the race, which is one of the reasons why we decided to send him here. I think if he gets a good clean trip, he's going to be pretty tough.

"Of course, you have to worry about Smarty Jones. The horse has done nothing wrong, and he's undefeated. He's definitely the horse to beat. I know people question his breeding, but the way he ran in the Rebel it didn't look like he was stopping, so I don't think he'll have any problems going a mile and an eighth."