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Point Given to start outside

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 3, 2001


LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Point Given will be outside looking in when he tries to give trainer Bob Baffert a third Kentucky Derby victory in five years.

The strapping chestnut colt, winner of the Santa Anita Derby, will start from the No. 17 post in a 17-horse field.

He was made the 9-5 favorite Wednesday, and Baffert's second starter, Wood Memorial winner Congaree, was made the second choice at 5-1.

Co-third choices at 6-1 were Monarchos and Millennium Wind. The front-running Balto Star was next at 8-1.

Point Given drew the 14th pick in the selection process, and his owner and trainer chose the outside post. That way the versatile colt, who figures to lay off the pace, can stay out of trouble at the start.

"I had an argument with Bob," joked Prince Ahmed Salman of Saudi Arabia, Point Given's owner. "He wanted 19 and I wanted 17."

Asked what made Point Given so good, Salman said, "Don't ask me now, I'm a nervous wreck."

Baffert and owner Robert McNair got the second pick for the speedy Congaree and chose the No. 8 post.

Front-running Millennium Wind, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes, will start from the No. 2 post. He will be ridden by 54-year-old Laffit Pincay Jr., the winningest jockey in history with 9,118 victories. Pincay will be riding in his 20th Derby, his first since 1994, in a bid for his second Derby victory.

Monarchos, winner of the Florida Derby and second in the Wood Memorial, will start from the No. 16 hole. Balto Star, wire-to-wire winner of the Spiral and Arkansas Derby, will start from the No. 3 post.

Another stretch-runner, Dollar Bill, listed at 10-1, will start from the No. 10 post. He won the Risen Star, was fourth in the Louisiana Derby and third in the Blue Grass.

Balto Star and stretch-runner Invisible Ink, who drew No. 13, are trained by Todd Pletcher. Invisible Ink finished third in the Florida Derby and fourth in the Blue Grass.

There are no couplings for betting purposes in the Derby because of a recent Kentucky racing rule. It states there will be no combined entries in an event worth at least $1-million. The Derby purse is $1,112,000.

Also entered were Express Tour, Thunder Blitz, A P Valentine, Songandaprayer, Fifty Stars, Jamaican Rum, Keats, Talk Is Money, Startac and Arctic Boy.

Express Tour was bought in November for $1-million by the Godolphin Racing Stable of Sheiks Mohammed and Maktoum al Maktoum of Dubai after Express Tour won three straight races at Calder. In his only start this year, he won the United Arab Emirates Derby on March 24 at Nad al Sheba by a head over stablemate Street Cry, kept out of Saturday's race by an injury.

Frank Stronach's Thunder Blitz charged into the Derby with a 61/2-length victory in the Flamingo for his first win in four starts this year in his stakes debut April 7.

A P Valentine, co-owned by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, beat Point Given in the Champagne on Oct. 14 but finished 14th in the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, in which he bucked his shins. After finishing third in his 3-year-old debut, he won a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming race in track-record time at Hialeah but finished fifth in the Blue Grass.

Songandaprayer, co-owned by Bobby Hurley, a former basketball player at Duke, won the Fountain of Youth, was fifth in the Florida Derby and second in the Blue Grass.

Fifty Stars earned a trip to Louisville by winning the Louisiana Derby. In his last start he finished second in the Lone Star Derby.

Jamaican Run was third in the San Felipe, won by Point Given, and finished second to Balto Star in the Arkansas Derby.

Talk Is Money finished third in the Flamingo and was runner-up in the Federico Tesio.

Keats earned his way into the Derby by winning the Lexington wire-to-wire after finishing eighth after stumbling in the Spiral.

Startac finished second in the El Camino Real Derby and fourth in the California Derby.

Arctic Boy ran second in two Oaklawn Park stakes and 11th in the Arkansas Derby.

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