Originally created 05/08/00

Horse could skip Preakness



LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Despite Impeachment's hard-charging third-place finish at the Kentucky Derby, Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell is leaning toward having his slow-starting colt skip the shorter Preakness Stakes, the next Triple Crown race, on May 20th.

Impeachment's next race will come in the June 10 Belmont Stakes, a 1-1/2-mile race that may better suit his stretch-driving style.

What is definite is that Trippi, who slowed to 11th after challenging for the Kentucky Derby lead at the mile pole, will not be entered in either the Preakness or Belmont.

"There's no reason to think I can go to Baltimore and win," Campbell said. "If I thought either would be able to handle (Derby champion Fusaichi) Pegasus, then maybe. But right now, I'm leaning toward giving them a little break."

Meanwhile, amid glowing words from other trainers that Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus has the makings of a Triple Crown winner, the colt's trainer, Neil Drysdale, refused Sunday to commit him to the Preakness on May 20.

"That's a Triple Crown horse right there," said Jenine Sahadi, trainer of The Deputy, 14th as the second favorite in a field of 19 at Churchill Downs.

"If you ask me, he's a Triple Crown winner," said Alex Hassinger, trainer of Anees, the 1999 2-year-old champion who finished 13th.

Told that Drysdale was undecided about the May 20 race, trainer D. Wayne Lukas, whose three starters were not among the first 10 finishers, said: "Count Neil in."

On Saturday, Fusaichi Pegasus became the first favorite to win the Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979. He finished 1' lengths ahead of Aptitude. The time of 2:01 for 1 1/4 miles tied the sixth fastest in 126 Derbys.

"It was very rewarding," Drysdale said.

Impeachment came to Dogwood's Aiken stables in 1998 after being purchased for $260,000 as a yearling. The price tag never really did match the results, and Campbell and trainer Ron Stevens talked repeatedly about Impeachment's poor progress.

"Impeachment probably would have been voted least likely to succeed when we had him in Aiken," Campbell said. "He was like a little fat kid who just turned into this big brawny guy. The light in his head finally turned on."

Said Stevens: "Impeachment just had a slow development in Aiken, kind of like his overall racing style. In Aiken, it was just hard to get a read on him. The improvement should be there, we thought; it just took a while to show itself."

When the son of Deputy Minister out of Misconduct started his stretch run Saturday, he stood 13th and among a bunched pack. He crossed the wire third, 5' lengths behind Fusaichi Pegasus, four behind Aptitude, the place horse.

"My eyes kept darting from the front, where Trippi was, to the back, where Impeachment was," Campbell said. "I knew he'd make a move, and that this race might have been good for a closer."

Impeachment also has a second in the Tampa Bay Derby and a third in the Arkansas Derby.

"I'm not surprised at all with Impeachment finishing third," said Todd Pletcher, who trained both Trippi and Impeachment. "His style as coming from behind always makes him a threat."

Trippi's style is about speed, and the End Sweep colt showed his pedigree might be better for mile races. He won the shorter, Grade III Flamingo Stakes in April.

"He can probably get a mile and an eighth in good company, but it's clear he doesn't want to go the extra quarter," Campbell said. "This was his fifth race since January 29. That's asking a lot of a horse who did not race as a 2-year-old. But he's given us a lot in that short time, and his Derby race was very respectable.

"I think he deserves a good six weeks off."

Reach Rick Dorsey at (706) 823-3219.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.