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i:3 HE* — ~- jandJ/v REFLECTIONS ■ By Nelson Dunstan Entire Country Excited Oyer Todays Derby Your Host Looms As the One to Catch Hill Prince Slow Beginner — But Late Threat Is Triple Crown Winner to Emerge Today? CHURCHILL DOWNS, Louisville, Ky.. May 5. , Although this is the 76th running of the Kentucky Derby,, we question whether there has been one previous renewal that has aroused more interest throughout the country. Top candidates from California, Virginia and Texas will vie with Kentucky-breds, and just as Nebraska sent a delegation in Omahas year, so will hundreds from Oklahoma be cheering in this renewal for Oil Capitol. Making a solid choice for this Derby is a difficult task, for many of these horses who have earned large followings are meeting for the first time on common ground, and at a distance which none of them have ever negotiated previously. This race is still wide open and could produce a surprise winner, but it is our opinion that the two foremost ranrlfriatps for a visit tn the winners circle are C. T. Chenerys Hill Prince and the California sensation, Your Host. Track conditions will play a major, part, and should it come up muddy, we would not hesitate to select the Chenery colt. True, he has yet to demonstrate his capabilities at one and one-quarter miles, but it is our impression that he can run all day. He is a slow beginner, but has that terrific burst of speed which will carry him past tiring opponents in the final stages through the stretch. The enigma of this Derby is Your Host, who may go to the post as favorite. This* California-bred is undoubtedly one of the best colts to emerge from the Golden State since the days of Morvich. In the Scarlet Gate Purse at Keeneland, this son of Alibhai electrified Kentuckians and from that day to this they have been singing his praises as one of the fastest horses since Roseben. The whole question narrows down as to whether he can hold his speed over one and one-quarter mUes or whether, like so many other speed horses, he will lead to the mile pole and then fadeas those who turn it on during the stretch run charge at him. We have had many such horses in the Derby during recent years and besides Olympia last season there was Coaltown, Spy Song, With Regards, Dispose, Bimelech and Menow, all of whom had their heads in front at the mile pole only to give way in that last heartbreaking quarter mile. Your Host has done all that has been asked of him to date and accomplished his tasks in a convincing manner. Only the Derby itself can verify or dismiss any doubts concerning him. - During recent weeks while watching the Experimentals, Wood Memorial, Chesapeake, Derby Trial and other races, fans have been wondering whether they saw the Kentucky Derby winner. Immediately after the big race tomorrow afternoon their thoughts will take on a new line in wondering whether the winner will go on to take "Triple Crown" honors. Needless to say that is one of the most difficult tasks to confront a horse on the American turf. Since 1919 only eight have been able to accomplish the feat, and they were Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault and Citation, the latter in 1948. There is no telling from year to year how these events will turn out. In 1947, Jet Pilot won the Derby, then Faultless took the Preakness and Phalanx won the Belmont Stakes. There is no such standout this year, such as most "Triple Crown" winners were in their respective seasons and while it is always possible that the Derby winner will go on to take the other two races, it is just our pre-Derby guess that the feat will not be accomplished this spring. There are a few in this years crop who should show to better advantage when the distance is lengthened out to the one and one-half miles of. the Belmont Stakes. Jockeys, as usual, will play a most important part in the Derby outcome, with such veterans as Eddie Arcaro, Johnnie Longden, Steve Brooks, Eric Guerin and others matching wits and skill with capable younger lads like Willie Boland, Ken Church and Gordon Glisson. Arcaro on Hill Prince and Longden on Your Host will be continuing the battle they carried on during the winter months at Santa Anita. Harry Daniels has repeatedly stated that Longden fits Your* Host like the proverbial glove and needless to say the world-touring jockey has been in the game so long that no such thing as "jitters" is going to retard the chance of his mount. Arcaro has a world of confidence in himself and when that extends to his mount * as well, he is well nigh unbeatable. The youngster thousands will be watching is BiU Boland, the boy who has been one of the riding sensations, along with Gordon Glisson during recent years. There are no apprentice allowances in the Derby, but this Texas lad has just as much confidence in himself as we find in the older riders, and that is one of the quaUties which has brought him along so steadily. Ira Hanford was the only apprentice ever to win the Derby, and he accomplished the feat on Bold Venture, the sire of Middleground. It would be an unique item if Boland became the second on the King Ranch horse. One of the hardest working men in Louisville during the past month is Bill Corum, who is ably filling the big gap caused by the death of Col. Matt J. Winn; With an enthusiasm that goes wjth his love for horse racing, Major Bill has put in a full day and oftentimes a good part of the night in studying the possibilities for improvements at this old racing center in Louisville. True, he had a break in his first Derby, due to the intersectional rivalry that came with such entries as Your Host from California, Hill Prince from Virginia and Middleground from Texas. He tells us, "It has been a lot of fun," and he. genuinely means that, knowing at the same time that the position he holds is a most responsible one. Corum will return to New York on May 17th to resume his newspaper column and also his broadcasts on fights and other sporting events. But in leaving Louisville he does so with the thought that the Kentucky Derby is a year-round Job, and until the next running, he plans to devote a great deal of time to Americas most colorful horse race.