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Point Givenis favorite in last prep

By BRANT JAMES

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 5, 2001


Point Given gets his second chance to affirm his status as an elite Kentucky Derby contender when he enters as the favorite in the Grade I $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on Saturday.

With this his last prep before May 5, the Bob Baffert-trained colt is bidding to become just the second in 19 years to win the Kentucky Derby off two races as a 3-year-old. With six starts at 2, including a win in the Hollywood Futurity in December after a second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the son of Thunder Gulch has to this point given every indication he's progressing perfectly.

Point Given drew the rail Wednesday in the eight-horse field that includes I Love Silver and Startac.

"Point Given is the now horse and the tough horse," Startac trainer Simon Bray said. "Being realistic, most of us are running for second."

Some of Point Given's likely Derby competition should present itself during a major weekend of racing.

The Grade II $500,000 Illinois Derby, $500,000 Lone Star Derby and Grade III $250,000 Flamingo Stakes also are Saturday.

Dream Run, fourth in the Grade I Florida Derby, will be the likely favorite at Sportsman's Park while Outofthebox and Thunder Blitz highlight the Flamingo.

LONE STAR IS BORN?: Bolstered by a change in date and an increase in possible earnings, the Lone Star Derby could finally become a legitimate Kentucky Derby prep.

Only one Lone Star veteran has run in the Kentucky Derby (Crimson Classic finished 11th in 1997) but Fifty Stars, winner of the Louisiana Derby, and Golden Gate- and El Camino Real-winner Hoovergetthekeys will likely change all that.

Because the Lone Star now falls a month before the Kentucky Derby, purse money has been increased to $500,000 and a $1-million bonus for winning a Triple Crown race added, the race gained measurable appeal.

ANOTHER VICTORY: Seabiscuit captured the country's imagination in the late 1930s, and recaptured it the past three weeks in book stores. Seabiscuit: An American Legend, written by Laura Hillenbrand, will assume the top spot on the April 8 New York Times bestseller list for non-fiction after three weeks. It is the first sports-related book to do so in four years.

DOCUMENTARY: A 13-episode series, Thoroughbred, debuted this week and will air twice weekly on the Animal Planet network. The 30-minute shows detail daily life on Maryland's Bonita Farm, and air at 8 p.m. Tuesdays and 7 p.m. Saturdays.

WHITE FOAL: Oregon breeder Dalene Knight has delivered what she expects will become the 12th registered white thoroughbred in history, but the third on her farm, according to the Thoroughbred Times.

The filly, by Airdrie Apache and out of the 11-year-old Vanlandingham mare The Ranch, was born Jan. 31.

"It must have something to do with all the snow we get here in the Northwest," Knight said.

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