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Favorite Trick survives stumble

A stumble caused a rumble in the Churchill Downs stable area Monday. But Favorite Trick, the Horse of the Year, is still in the Kentucky Derby.

Favorite Trick was galloping out after a workout when he stumbled and almost fell, but the colt gathered himself quickly.

"He must have hit a little divot in the track," said trainer Bill Mott, who did not see what happened on the clubhouse turn.

"Sometimes they get a little relaxed after finishing their work, and he apparently just folded wrong. It looks like a one-stumble deal."

The stumble happened three days after unbeaten Event of the Year fractured his right front knee in a workout. Mott said there appeared to be no problem and Favorite Trick was ready for Saturday's race.

"The work was good, and he's back here and cooling out good," Mott said. "I think we're in good shape. I can't imagine being in any better shape."

Favorite Trick, with exercise rider Louise Bray up, worked three-quarters of a mile in 1 minute, 14 seconds.

Three other horses worked.

Blue Grass winner Halory Hunter went five-eighths in 1:01

3/5 and galloped out three-quarters in 1:15.

Cape Town, the Florida Derby winner, worked five-eighths in 59 4/5 and galloped out in 1:14.

Chilito, the Flamingo winner, worked five-eighths in 1:04 2/5.

GAINING ATTENTION: Since the prospective field swelled to 17-19 starters, the novel idea of trainers selecting their own post positions has taken on added importance. Strategy sessions will be in vogue when the new-look draw debuts Wednesday on ESPN.

In past years, numbered pills were drawn for each Kentucky Derby entrant, designating post position in the starting gate. But this year the pills specify the order in which owners or trainers will choose their post positions.

The concept was developed when ESPN asked Churchill Downs to consider ways to liven up the draw proceedings.

ON THE FENCE: Among other possible entries are Voy American, runner-up in the Lexington Stakes; Derby Trial runner-up Yarrow Brae; Lone Star Derby winner Smolderin Heart; Nite Dreamer; and Heart Surgeon, recently fourth in a Texas-bred sprint race at Lone Star Park.

_ TIMES WIRES

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