Today on - Achilles of Troy off the Triple Crown trail

by Shawn Sillinger

Achilles not a factor

The Triple Crown cream is rising to the top.

Three of the top candidates to win the Kentucky Derby picked up victories in Saturday's prep races. Brother Derek went wire-to-wire to win the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park, shortening his odds on the Derby futures market from +650 to +350 as a result. Brother Derek finished 3 lengths in front of Point Determined (+1500). A.P. Warrior (+2000) was another 1 lengths back in third place.

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Bob and John kept pace with an important victory at the $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct. He went into the weekend at +1600 on the Derby odds list, but was shortened to +650 after holding off Keyed Entry (+2500) to win by 1 lengths. The two horses went head-to-head down the sloppy stretch before Bob and John pulled ahead; Jazil mounted a late charge to edge Keyed Entry for second place and a spot on the Derby market at +2500. Jazil's trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, confirmed his horse is pointed at the Run for the Roses. Keyed Entry trainer Todd Pletcher is expected to announce his intentions in a matter of days.

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Rounding out Saturday's slate, Sweetnorthernsaint (+1500) qualified for the Kentucky Derby by winning the $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne. Sweetnorthernsaint went into the weekend with just $20,000 in graded stakes winnings, but crushed the field by 9 lengths to pick up the required career earnings. Front-runner Mister Triester (+6000) finished second and Cause to Believe (+5000) was third after a rally that came much too late.

While the contenders separated themselves from the pretenders, Achilles of Troy was taken off the Triple Crown Trail last week. Concerns were first raised after the horse had to be vanned off the track after a fifth-place finish at the Mar. 18 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, where Achilles of Troy had won the Count Fleet and Whirlaway Stakes to start the 2006 season. The diagnosis turned out to be muscle spasms in his back; owner Ernie Paragallo also told reporters that the horse has "heat in his left front suspensory." Achilles of Troy was being pointed at the Apr. 15 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

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by BetUS at on April 12, 2006

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