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Point Given scores impressive win in prep

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 8, 2001


ARCADIA, Calif. -- Point Given solidified his role as the early Kentucky Derby favorite by pulling away from five rivals Saturday in the Santa Anita Derby.

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Point Given solidified his role as the early Kentucky Derby favorite by pulling away from five rivals Saturday in the Santa Anita Derby.

Ridden by Gary Stevens, the strapping chestnut colt took the lead with a little more than a half-mile remaining and scored his second impressive win in two starts as a 3-year-old.

"He jumped out of the gate very well," Stevens said. "From the half-mile pole on he was just dragging me."

Point Given will be shipped to Louisville on April 18 to prepare for the May 5 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

The colt carried scale weight of 122 pounds over 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 3/5 on a muddy track in beating Crafty C.T. I Love Silver was another 3 lengths back and was followed by Palmeiro, Cherokee Kim and Scorpion.

It was Point Given's fifth win in eight starts. He's never been worse than second.

FLAMINGO STAKES: Thunder Blitz ran away with his first stakes race, finishing 6 3/4 lengths in front of Tour Of The Cat at Hialeah and gaining consideration for the Derby. Ridden by Edgar Prado, Thunder Blitz, a son of Holy Bull, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 1/5. Talk Is Money was third, and Outofthebox, the favorite, faded on the backstretch and was fifth.

ILLINOIS DERBY: Despite a poor start, Distilled led almost wire-to-wire and defeated Saint Damien by 1 3/4 lengths at windy Sportsman's Park near Chicago. Dream Run was third in the field of eight. The winner covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.37 on a fast track.

LONE STAR DERBY: Percy Hope held off Louisiana Derby winner Fifty Stars by 2 lengths at Grand Prairie, Texas, to score his second straight victory. Percy Hope ran 11/8 miles in 1:50.270 and qualified for a $1-million bonus offered to a horse who wins the Lone Star and any of the Triple Crown races.

ASHLAND STAKES: Fleet Renee ran neck-and-neck with favored Golden Ballet down the stretch, then drew away for a 2 1/2-length win in Lexington, Ky. Fleet Renee covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:43 3/5. Golden Ballet was second, followed by Latour. Fleet Renee will go on to the Kentucky Oaks; Golden Ballet was never pointed to the race.

GRAND NATIONAL: Red Marauder won the British steeplechase in driving rain, with only two of the 40 starters finishing without losing their jockeys. Richard Guest rode the 33-1 shot on a muddy 4 1/2-mile course, followed by Smarty, Blowing Wing and Papillon. They were the only horses to complete the course.

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