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Baffert Charmed by Two Colts

April 2, 1998

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Silver Charm’s victory in the Dubai World Cup was exhilarating for trainer Bob Baffert.

Don’t get him wrong, though. It’s nothing like winning the Kentucky Derby.

``Oh, the Kentucky Derby is a bigger thrill,″ Baffert said Thursday at Santa Anita.

On Saturday, two Baffert trainees _ Indian Charlie and Real Quiet _ will try to earn trips to the May 2 Kentucky Derby with good performances in the Santa Anita Derby.

While the two colts will not be coupled as an entry because of different owners, each is 5-2 in the early line.

Two other Kentucky Derby contenders will be running Saturday: Artax, 2-1, and Orville N Wilbur’s, 7-2. Outsiders are Classic Cat, Nationalore and Skeaping.

Indian Charlie, owned by Hal Earnhardt and ridden by Gary Stevens, is unbeaten in three career starts but will be making his stakes debut and going beyond a mile for the first time. He raced only once as a 2-year-old because of a bone chip in a knee.

``It’s a big step up for him,″ Stevens said. ``But he’s very seasoned for a horse who was lightly raced and I’m not worried about the step up in class. He’s going to be educated more after this weekend.″

Real Quiet, on the other hand, is very seasoned. The colt, owned by Mike Pegram and ridden by Kent Desormeaux, raced nine times last year and won twice with five thirds.

He made his 3-year-old debut by finishing eighth in the Golden Gate Derby on a muddy track Jan. 18, but then rebounded to finish second just a head short of Artax in the 1 1-16 mile San Felipe on March 14 at Santa Anita.

Baffert thinks Indian Charlie might be the better of the two colts.

Paraneck Stable’s Artax, ridden by Chris McCarron, opened his 1998 campaign by finishing second in an allowance race, then won the 1 1-16 mile Santa Catalina and followed with a win in the San Felipe.

``He’s come a long way,″ trainer Randy Bradshaw said. ``In the Santa Catalina he came full circle and didn’t make any mistakes.″

Artax has a lot of natural speed but Bradshaw thinks the colt can be paced.

``If the pace if realistic I think he’ll rate,″ he said. ``But he’s such a natural speed horse that you don’t want to gag him.″

Another speed horse is Orville N Wilbur’s, owned by Prince Ahmed Salman of Saudi Arabia and ridden by Corey Nakatani.

Orville N Wilbur’s led all the way in winning the one mile San Rafael on March 1 at Santa Anita in his second start of the year.

Trainer Wally Dollase said a good performance, not a victory, will be enough to send the colt to the Kentucky Derby.

Salman and Nakatane said they would not talk to the media until after the Santa Anita Derby, but Dollase said of the prince: ``He’s excited, very excited, about going to the Kentucky Derby. That’s the best way to put it.″

Classic Cat has won a maiden race in six career starts. Skeaping has won a maiden race in five career starts and Nationalore is winless in 14 career starts. Nationalore, however, finished a surprising third in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Hollywood Park.

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