Turfway's Leading Trainer Likes Roar in Jim Beam
Mar. 29, 1996
FLORENCE, Ky. (AP) _ Roar is the horse for Saturday's $600,000 Jim Beam Stakes, says John Parisella, who has the perspective of being the leading trainer at Turfway Park.
Parisella, who has a record 37 wins this meet, admires D.Wayne Lukas and is a friend of Nick Zito, two of racing's most prominent trainers. But he thinks Shug McGaughey has the winner in the Grade II Beam.
``I just don't see a 6-5 or even-money horse winning it,'' Parisella said Thursday. ``I think it sets up perfect for Roar. I think he's a cinch.''
Roar is coming off a win two weeks ago in the 7-furlong Grade III Swale at Gulfstream. He will be ridden by Mike Smith in the 1 1/8-mile Beam.
``He'll probably be just behind the speed, but it depends on how the race sets up,'' said Allison Jessop, who preceded McGaughey to Turfway to get Roar settled in. ``In a race like this, you'd like to see a little speed.''
Roar, second choice on the morning line at 3-1, will start from the No. 6 post, between two Lukas horses _ 8-5 favorite Victory Speech to the inside, and third pick Dr. Caton, at 4-1, on the outside.
Victory Speech will be ridden by Gary Stevens, and Dr. Caton by Jerry Bailey. Bailey, aboard Cigar, just beat Stevens on Soul of the Matter in the world's richest race, and both jockeys could be fighting jet lag from their day-long return flight from Dubai.
Robbie Davis will be on Zito's horse, Blushing Jim, and five-time Beam winner Pat Day will be on Randy Bradshaw's Heza Gone West.
For Lukas, the Beam will be a test to see if either Victory Speech or Dr. Caton is a legitimate Triple Crown prospect.
``This is the time of year when they should start sorting themselves out,'' Lukas said. ``These are the races coming up that give some sense of direction _ the Jim Beam, the Blue Grass, the Wood, the Arkansas Derby and the Santa Anita Derby.
``If they ran the (Kentucky) Derby today, Unbridled's Song definitely would be the favorite. But these next couple of races could change that picture.''
Victory Speech finished third, a neck behind Unbridled's Song in the Grade II Fountain of Youth last month at Gulfstream. He is owned by Michael Tabor, owner of Thunder Gulch, who won last year's Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes and helped Lukas put together a record string of five Triple Crown victories.
The two Lukas-trained horses will go uncoupled because Dr. Caton is owned by Beverly and Robert Lewis, owners of Serena's Song _ winner of last year's Beam.
Dr. Caton is a special horse to Lukas. He is named for Dr. William Caton, the neurologist who treated Laukas' son Jeff when he was run down and injured by Tabasco Cat in a training accident in 1993.
``We thought as a 2-year-old he was one of the best prospects we had,'' Lukas said of the horse. ``He could catch up very quickly. I look for him to run a big race Saturday.''
The field, from the rail out, with jockey and morning-line odds: Ensign Ray, Willie Martinez, 12-1; Best Secret, Shane Sellers, 12-1; Influence Peddler, Omar Klinger, 20-1; Blushing Jim, Robbie Davis, 12-1; Victory Speech, Gary Stevens, 8-5; Roar, Mike Smith, 3-1; Dr. Caton, Jerry Bailey, 4-1; Apak, Brent Bartram, 12-1; Heza Gone West, Pat Day, 12-1; and Connecting Terms, Craig Perret, 10-1.