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i i KwHI I REFLECTIONS By Nelson Dunstan Kentucky Derby Remains Wide Open Race Black George a Mudder; So Is Hill Prince Middleground Still Among Top Contenders Juliets Nurse May Be Debutante Choice CHURCHILL DOWNS, Louisville, Ky., May 3. After watching the Derby Trial yesterday, we are of the opinion that handicappers are no closer to a solid Derby selection than they were two weeks ago. At Keeneland, Your Host literally literally ran ran away away from from_Mr. Mr. Trouble. Trouble, i i literally literally ran ran away away from from_Mr. Mr. Trouble. Trouble, Theory and others in a seven-furlong event. Following -that, Mr. Trouble won the Blue Grass Stakes from Oil Capitol, On the Mark and some seven others, and, in the doing, came boldly into the Derby picture. Then in the Derby Trial, with Middleground a heavy favorite. Black George rolled home a winner over one of the best fields that has ever gone to the post id this prep event which was inaugurated in 1938. It was a miserable day with a track deep in in goo, goo, but but this this was was apparently apparently just just what what in in goo, goo, but but this this was was apparently apparently just just what what KwHI Black George needed. It was announced immediately after the race that Black George would be sent to the Derby post if the track was muddy on the week-end. We cannot enthuse over his chances, regardless of track conditions, for he was tiring fast, as Middleground "hung" in the final sixteenth of the Trial. The weather and also the track were so bad yesterday that the Derby Trial would have to be thrown completely out of the reckonings if the conditions came up "clear and fast" on the week-end. Two lengths behind Black George came Middleground, with the Brookmeade pair of Sunglow and Greek Ship next in order, and they were followed by Lot O Luck and Theory. It is just our guess that the six mentioned will answer the bugle for the Derby. Middleground may have lost some of his supporters as the result of the defeat, but the oft-heard saying, "Never discount Ben Jones in the Derby," can also be applied, to the veteran, Max Hirsch. The trainer of Middleground expressed his disappointment after the Trial, but when it is considered that this horse was giving six pounds to the winner, he was a long way from disgraced. Those who went along with Ben Jones and Ponder last year were well rewarded, but regardless of the astuteness of the Calumet trainer, we are among those who will be surprised if Theory is one-two-three in the big race. After the Derby Trial, it was hard to compare him with the same horse who defeated Johns Joy and other older horses in record time at Gulfstream Park last March. He may improve if the Derby track is fast, but he distinctly did not like the going yesterday. Selecting a Derby winner would be much simpler if those making the selections could be certain of a fast, slow or sloppy track for the big race on Saturday. If the going is sloppy, we would not hesitate now to select Hill Prince, who worked out between the second and third races yesterday and was full of run from end to end. The Chenery colt was timed at the mile pole in 1:40%, as compared to the 1:40 flat that was credited to Black George in winning the Derby Trial. In that work, Hill Prince had a much heavier boy in the saddle than he will have with Arcaro in. the Derby, and it is safe to say the Italian lad,* who is already credited with four Derby winners, will be very much of an asset. This was not the first time that Hill Prince has shown a liking for a sloppy track. At Monmouth Park last August, he scored impressively in a six-furlong race under these track conditions, and then gave one of the most convincing exhibitions of any two-year-old last year when he won the Cowdin Stakes at Aqueduct over the same kind of racing strip. Hill Prince is not the type of a horse who needs any particular track condition, for he demonstrated in the Babylon Handicap at Aqueduct last September that he is just as capable over a fast track as he is on any other. There was a fellow here in Louisville a few days back who was offering to wager that no one could name the exact number of Derby starters, his one proviso being that the wager be made before the running of .the Derby Trial. Actually, the Derby Trial did more to confuse than clarify the Derby field. The arrival of Hallieboy yesterday caused considerable newspaper comment. The colt is by Silverdale out of Montmary, by Ormont, and, while his breeding can hardly be compared to that of more illustrious competitors, this horse has demonstrated .that he can win races, if not stake events. His owner, Walter Fugate, vanned his horse from Lincoln, R. I., and with the long trip went the pride of a man who, like many another, is anxious to see his colors in Americas most colorful horse race. From all accounts, Hallieboy can be regarded as a certain starter, but we can think of at least five who at this writing are on the doubtful list. As in the case of Black George, track conditions are likely to play an important part in helping the owners and trainers make a final decision. Before the running of the Derby Trial, Max Hirsch was credited with saying he would ship Middleground back to New York if he did not win, but in our opinion the showing of the son of Bold Venture entitled him to a chance on Saturday. In 1946, Assault was out of the money in the Derby Trial, but then went on to win the "Triple Crown" pf that year. Two-year-olds have not had many opportunities to date, so an interesting secondary feature to the Kentucky Derby on the week-end will be the Debutante Stakes exclusively for fillies at five furlongs. The following Saturday, the Bashford Manor for two-year-old colts will be run at Churchill Downs, and these two events may reveal some of the youngsters who may be fighting it out in stakes later in the season. Keeneland racing developed record breakers in the filly Juliets Nurse, who is owned by J. Graham Brown, and Mais Boy, who races under the colors of Mrs. Emil Denemark. At Keeneland, Juliets Nurse established a new track record of :45% over the Headley course in sloppy going, and on that effort she. may be the favorite In the Debutante. Mais Boy won the Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland, running the "about one-half mile" in :45%. Both of these youngsters have their share of speed, but there are so many royally bred colts and fillies in both the Debutante and Bashford Manor that it will be more interesting to watch who returns to the winners circle.