Kentucky Derby contender Musket Man proved to be a keeper

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Vic Carlson, an Oregon pinhooker who usually buys horses for a quick and profitable resale, said Musket Man's half sister convinced him that he should purchase the horse for $15,000 as a yearling.

In 46 starts, Casablanca Babe, also trained by Derek Ryan, has earned $205,304. Both horses are out of the Fortunate Prospect dam Fortuesque.

"I bought (Casablanca Babe) for $11,000," Carlson said. "She was a serviceable racehorse."

Musket Man won April's Tampa Bay Derby and March's Illinois Derby and took third in February's Sam F. Davis Stakes.

"We've gotten more than we bargained for," Carlson said.

Carlson, who shares Musket Man's ownership with New Yorker Eric Fein, said the 20-1 odds on his Yonaguska colt are about right.

"I think we have a real shot," he said. "In this race, so much is the trip."

Ryan said Musket Man's future depends on Saturday.

"If he doesn't run 1-2, we'll probably just get ready for the Haskell (Invitational)," Ryan said.

The Haskell is Aug. 2 (after the Preakness and Belmont) at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

King of one-liners: Trainer Bob Baffert, 56, elected to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame on April 20, talked about his honor.

"When I first heard the news, I said, 'This is it? A phone call? You could have sent me a strippergram or something,' " he said.

Later that day, he told wife Jill: " 'Hey, tonight when we get home, you're going to be sleeping with a Hall of Fame trainer.' She was all excited about it."

Over-under: Larry Jones, who trains Friesan Fire, said connections have been teasing him on his retirement later this year.

"(Owner Rick Porter) put (retirement length at) 142 days up on his Web site," said Jones, 52. "I think it'll be a little longer than that. People that really know me tell me I'll be bored after 10 days … and they're giving me 12 days to be back. It's been tough for 30 years, and we need our weekends paid back."

Media crunch: Thomas McCarthy, the 75-year-old owner and trainer of Sam F. Davis and Blue Grass Stakes winner General Quarters, appears to be holding up well to the immense media blitz. He has been the focus of numerous media outlets and joined I Want Revenge trainer Jeff Mullins as the only conditioners on the televised question-and-answer session after Wednesday's draw.

Asked how long he had been training horses, he paused momentarily before answering, "50 years." He was seated at the same table with 19-year-old Joe Talamo, who has the mount on I Want Revenge.

Kentucky Derby contender Musket Man proved to be a keeper 04/30/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 30, 2009 10:11pm]

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