Shippers Rate Edge Again in Explosive Bid

(from track report)
Enhancements in purse and graded status over the past four years have made the $650,000 Explosive Bid Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds an attractive race for shippers from across the country.

Three of the last four winners have shipped in to win the Explosive Bid. There are six imports in the Sunday's 11-horse field.

The Explosive Bid, the final graded stakes event on Fair Grounds' 2002-03 stakes schedule, is the marquee race over the Stall-Wilson turf course. It is contested at about 1 1/8 mile.

The 3-1 morning line favorite is Rouvres, who has made just one start in the United States for trainer Christophe Clement.

Neither Clement nor jockey Jerry Bailey has ever participated in the Explosive Bid, but this year they team up with a horse that comes in off four straight wins.

Rouvres easily handled an allowance field in his U.S. debut at Gulfstream Park last month. The 4-year-old French-bred son of Anabaa won the Group I Prix Jean Part at Chantilly in his final start of 2002. Bailey will break from the third post position.

Team Block's Mystery Giver, the 4-1 second choice, is the best local hope of winning the Explosive Bid. Mystery Giver unleashed an explosive kick through the final furlong in posting a 3 1/4-length victory in the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup on Feb. 1.

According to trainer Richard Scherer, the Illinois-bred son of Dynaformer has been training better now than before last month's victory, which clearly was the most dominant performance of his career.

Robby Albarado, a two-time winner of the Explosive Bid who is closing in on a fourth Fair Grounds riding title, gets a reprieve from his seven-day suspension to ride.

Century City has been well thought of since his U.S. debut in November.

The 4-year-old son of Danzig had a troubled trip in that race, but still managed to finish third, beaten only a neck in the Bay Meadows Derby (gr. IIIT). After disappointing efforts in the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) and a failed experiment on the main track in the San Fernando Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Santa Anita, Century City won his first U.S. stakes event in the Turf Paradise Breeders' Cup last month.

In his most recent start, he was fourth in the Kilroe Mile (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita. The Beau Greely trainee should appreciate the additional real estate in the Explosive Bid and will be ridden for the first time by Jose Valdivia.

Trainer Bobby Frankel and Juddmonte Farms, who sent out favored Beat Hollow to a runner-up finish in last year's renewal, are represented this year by Requete, a 4-year-old who has not been defeated since joining Frankel's barn.

Winner of an allowance race in his U.S. debut, Requete came back to capture the San Marino Handicap at Santa Anita Park. Pat Day, who has never won the Explosive Bid, comes in from Gulfstream for the mount.

Redattore, the expected favorite in the Explosive Bid, had his name withdran from the entry box Friday morning when he came up with a high temperature.

With Redattore's defection, Century City and Mystery Giver are co-high weighted at 116 pounds, spotting the field from one to five pounds.

$650,000 Explosive Bid Handicap (gr. IIT, 4:02 p.m. CST), 4 & up, about 1 /8 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt. ML Odds
1. Orchard Park, Cornelio Velasquez, 115, 10/1
2. Run to Victory, Gerard Melancon, 111, 12/1
3. Rouvres (FR), Jerry Bailey, 115, 3/1
4. Candid Glen, E.J. Perrodin, 114, 15/1
5. Mystery Giver, Robby Albarado, 116, 4/1
6. Freefourinternet, Shane Sellers, 113, 15/1
7. Even The Score, Corey Lanerie, 113, 12/1
8. Della Francesca, Larry Melancon, 112, 12/1
9. Seinne (CHI), Calvin Borel, 113, 8/1
10. Century City (IRE), Jose Valdivia, 116, 5/1
11. Requete (GB), Pat Day, 112, 8/1