- Horse Racing - Trippi can't take advantage of hot conditions

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Saturday, May 5
Trippi can't take advantage of hot conditions

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – On a day records fell on the Kentucky Derby undercard, heavily favored Trippi could not even manage to surpass his own mark for futility.

Track records were set in three of the first four races at Churchill Downs on Saturday, including a new mark for seven furlongs in the Churchill Downs Handicap. Alannan won the race in 1:20 2/5, breaking the mark of 1:21 1/5 set by Distorted Humor in May, 1998. Trippi, who finished 11th in the Derby last year for trainer Todd Pletcher, was seventh in the 10-horse field.

Exchange Rate, 12th in the 2000 Derby, was third in the Grade II race.

Pletcher, who sent out Balto Star and Invisible Ink in the Derby later Saturday, was not happy with the lightning fast track on the hot, sunny day. Pletcher compared the dirt track to the asphalt outside Churchill Downs on Fourth Street.

"I think the track did us in," Pletcher said. "It's just ridiculous today. What are they going to do, set nine track records today?"

The conditions made for several eye-popping runs.

In the first race, another Derby trainer, Bob Baffert, started the day off right with his Love at Noon winning a $33,000 allowance. Love at Noon set a record for 6– furlongs at 1:14 1/5, a second faster than Bet on Sunshine's record in July 2000.

In the fourth race there was a rare dead heat in track record time in the five-furlong Three Chimneys Juvenile.

Runaway Choice and Open Story hit the line together in 57 1/5, two-fifths better than the mark set by Western Dreamer in 1995.

Butch Lehr, track superintendent for Churchill Downs, said the track was not unfair or hazardous, merely perfect.

"I think right now we've got it perfect," Lehr said. "The weather is perfect and the horses are getting a hold of it."

White Heart, owned by Gainsborough Farm, won the Grade I Woodford Reserve Classic on the turf. Jockey Gary Stevens was also riding Derby favorite Point Given.

Dream Supreme, owned by Yankees' boss George Steinbrenner, nearly broke the seven-furlong record set three races earlier, running 1:20 3/5 in the $150,000 Humana Distaff, a tick slower than Alannan.

Iftiraas, an import from Great Britain, won the $100,000-added Distaff Turf Mile.

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