Finding Room for 'Lost' Soul
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Golden Soul
Order This Photo

Outside Barn 45, pre-Derby media types circled around trainer Doug O'Neill and his entourage, hanging on their every word. Across the way under the shedrow of Barn 47 at Churchill Downs, trainer Dallas Stewart stood by himself.

Hey, he's got a horse in the May 3Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), too, you know. Chuck Fipke's homebred Golden Soul, at 50-1 on the morning line, is like the "lost soul" of this year's Derby, not 5-1 like the O'Neill-trained Goldencents.

You have to be in it to win it.

Stewart knows that. He tasted sweet Derby victory as an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. On his own, he's sent two horses to the big dance: Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Kimberlite Pipe in 1999 and Risen Star Stakes winner Dollar Bill in 2001. Neither hit the board.

Asked about his favorite Derby moment, Stewart replied: "I'm still waiting for it. I'm hoping for it Saturday."

While both earlier Derby runners failed to wear the roses, Stewart made a major score with a longshot under the Twin Spires with Lemons Forever in the 2005 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The victory, at 47-1, is the highest-priced Oaks winner in history.

Stewart stood alone as he watched Golden Soul get a bath after his morning exercise, sizing up thechestnut  son of Perfect Soul  Hollywood Gold, by Mr. Prospector.

"He's a nice-sized horse; he's well balanced; a little bit leggy," Stewart said. "He has a really nice neck on him. I love a horse with a good neck. He has a good temperament and he's a horse that likes to train. If you look at his worktab, his workouts are generally pretty good."

His last drill in advance of the Derby was a 1:00 4/5 five-furlong move April 26, seventh best of 32 at the distance. He also went six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 April 18.

His training will have to offer more clues than his racing heading to the Run for the Roses. Golden Soul has but one win, a maiden tally Dec. 30, from five starts. His 14 points under the new Kentucky Derby points system allowed him to grab the 19th slot in the 20-horse field. That came after Bob Baffert took his Govenor Charlie and Code West out of consideration earlier in the week and trainer Todd Pletcher thought his five was enough, leaving Winning Cause out of the lineup.

Golden Soul ran second to Oxbow   in the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in January and was competitive in the two other big events in Louisiana. He ran sixth, beaten 2 3/4 lengths in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) and then fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths in the Louisiana Derby (gr .II).

"I think he's run pretty well in all of his races," Stewart said. "He hasn't had the greatest of trips in his last couple of races, but we're hoping he'll have a good one here on Saturday."

That trip will come after breaking from post 4 with Robby Albarado up.

The trip to the Derby has come thanks to Fipke, one of racing's more colorful players.  They met when Fipke purchased Lemons Forever for $2.5 million at the 2007 Keeneland November sale. The breeder has had topline success with homebreds such as Golden Soul's sire, Canadian turf champion Perfect Soul   (Sadler's Wells--Ball Chairman, by Secretariat), Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I) winner Perfect Shirl, and with fellow Derby entrant Java's War, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) for trainer Ken McPeek.

Hollywood Gold, the dam of Golden Soul, has had one Derby entrant before, Quintons Gold Rush, in 2004. Hollywood Gold is out of Lady In Silver, winner of the Prix de Diane (French Oaks, Fr-I) and runner-up in the Arlington Million (gr. IT) against the boys.

He's got some pedigree. He'll make the starting gate. He's got to be in it to win it.
 

Most Popular Stories