Kentucky Derby contender gains strength after victory

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NEW YORK --- The moment his sleek bay colt came roaring down the stretch and hit the wire for an 81/2-length victory in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack last month, David Lanzman knew his life was about to change.

I Want Revenge, ridden by Joe Talamo, blew away the field at March's Gotham Stakes. Owner David Lanzman is hoping to build on that momentum with another victory today.  Associated Press
Associated Press
I Want Revenge, ridden by Joe Talamo, blew away the field at March's Gotham Stakes. Owner David Lanzman is hoping to build on that momentum with another victory today.

In this case, it's all good.

A former struggling rock singer for several Los Angeles bands, including one calling itself Bag of Guilt, the 52-year-old Lanzman might just have the favorite for the Kentucky Derby in four weeks.

I Want Revenge is the odds-on favorite in the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial at the Big A today, and a win would send the son of Stephen Got Even to Churchill Downs as a most formidable presence.

"It's all really kind of unbelievable," said Lanzman, who is based in Beverly Hills and the owner of a mortgage company as well as about 20 thoroughbreds.

I Want Revenge was bred by Lanzman, too. The colt showed promise with a second-place and then third-place finish behind Derby-bound Pioneerof the Nile in stakes races on synthetic surfaces in California, But at the suggestion of trainer Jeff Mullins and jockey Joe Talamo, Lanzman sent his horse East to run on a dirt track for the first time -- the Derby also is run on dirt. I Want Revenge left the competition in the dust, was sent home to California for a few weeks and is back in New York to show that his last race was no fluke.

"I went out the other morning to watch his work and he was hardly breathing -- and it was an open gallop," Lanzman said of I Want Revenge's 5-furlong workout in a speedy 59.80 seconds Sunday at Hollywood Park. "It's almost scary that we think he's better now than he was going into the Gotham."

Lanzman isn't alone.

On Monday, Lanzman accepted an offer he couldn't refuse: He sold a 50 percent share of I Want Revenge to IEAH Stables of Big Brown fame, then bought a 25 percent share of IEAH's 3-year-old filly sensation Stardom Bound, the likely favorite for the Kentucky Oaks the day before the Derby.

"This was a life-changing scene for us," he said, referring to his wife, Desirae, and their teenage son, Blair.

Lanzman made one concession: I Want Revenge will now wear the red, white and blue silks of IEAH instead of Lanzman's teal, gold lightning bolt and gold silks.

"My wife and I discussed it, and with the exception of Secretariat and Cigar I can't remember what anybody's silks look like," he said.


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