Churchill Downs: Give Nod to Needles for Rose Wreath; Have Great Respect for Erb, Fontaine; Career Boy, Fabius, Count Chic Threats, Daily Racing Form, 1956-05-05


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Churchill Downs By Joe Hirsch J JGive Give Nod to Needles for Rose Wreath Have Great Respect for Erb Fontaine Career Boy Fabius Count Chic Threats ThreatsCHURCHILL CHURCHILL DOWNS Louisville Ky May 4 You Pays Your Money Oh that a man might know the end of this days business ere it comes wrote Bill Shakespeare from Stratford some years back just as if he had the 1956 Kentucky Derby in mind All but the most partisan here in teeming Louisville are in fair ¬ ly general agreement that the prerace picture for this eighty second Derby is as confusing as an income tax blank an oil by Picasso or a street way qf Bos ¬ ton There has been wide con ¬ demnation of the threeyearold crop as perhaps the poorest in Rex Ellsworth suggests that the topranking sopho ¬ mores are all on an even level and that the level is fairly high In any case most the leading contenders for Colonel Corums wreath of roses except Needles have been beating each other over the past six weeks and Needles of course hasnt been to the races since March 24 Still this is a time for decision and the nod here has to go to Hugh Fontaines Reluctant Dragon who after all was the DAILY RACING FORMS selection as the leading twoyearold of 1955 and who has done little in subsequent races to force one to alter his opinionFlorida opinion Florida Victories Vividly Recalled RecalledProfessional Professional horsemen we canvassed in the stable area in the past several days were all deeply impressed with Needles Florida Derby in which Dave Erb per ¬ mitted him to settle in stride behind the pack down the backstretch before bringing him on the outside to loop his field and drive to a threequarter length victory over many of the same horses hell meet on Saturday afternoon Of course Needles was getting five pounds as a Floridabred in both Gulfstreams Derby and Hialeahs Flamingo but he carried 122 to beat Career Boy three and onehalf lengths in Saratogas Hopeful last summer and the feeling here is hell be able to pick up the weight whenever hes asked Furthermore the striking son of Ponder looks more like a race horse than most of his Derby opponents and his bloodlines are impressive Needles traces back to Hyperion through Ponders sire Pensive and his dam Noodle Soup has already proven an apt producer via Menolene Noodle Soup in turn is by Jack High the best son of John P Grier who earned over 130000 in a racing career when the pots werent nearly so large or numerous as they are today If there be any reservations in this corner about Needles they concern the possibility that a large portion of the bulky field could be stopping in front of him when he is set down for the drive Then again we would like to have seen Needles paddocked several times this week to become accustomed to the tremendous press of humanity that is screaming from both sides of the rail on Derby Day However we have great respect for Erb as a rider and Fontaine as a trainer and feel that both of them will have the situation well in hand when dusk comes on Saturday and another name is added to Churchill Downs victory roll of winners winnersOf Of the numerous others we have the most regard for Career Boy Fabius Count Chic Countermand and Terrang Career Boy is probably the gamest horse in the race and closes vigorously when the going is fast He just missed in last years The Garden State and won the Gotham at a mile and a sixteenth by three lengths under 122 pounds Still we feel that Needles is a bit the better of the two although we expect Career Boy to be thereabouts barring an off strip Calumets Fabius has an excellent chance at all the money by getting out in front and forgetting to stop as has happened many times in the past Hell he rid ¬ den by Bill Hartack who wants his first Derby more than anything hes ever done and who plays to Win with the same fierce inner drive of a Ty Cobb or an Enos Slaughter But Fabius has never won under any weight and hell be picking up 14 pounds off his Derby Trial package of 112 and going an additional quarter of a mile Films of the Trial seem to show Fabius run ¬ ning loose at the end of the eight furlongs as though all out though Hartack only hit him once midway of the stretch He is however trained by the remarkable Joneses and therell be more than one onlooker at the Downs on Saturday for whom this is sufficient justifi ¬ cation for a healthy wager wagerCount Count Chic Ran a Big Second SecondCount Count Chic ran a big race to be second to Needles in the Florida Derby spotting the winner two pounds and is another accomplished stretch runner Counter ¬ mand likewise prefers to come from well off the pace despite the tactics that were employed by his connec ¬ tions in the Derby Trial and the wellmade son of Greek Song seems to be able to run on just about any kind of surface He could be very close over a distance of ground Asfor Terrang hes beaten good horses at a mile and an eighth is being ridden by one of the great reinsmen df our time Willie Shoemaker and has been pointed for this race by Meshach Tenney who is a thoroughly knowledgeable horseman And who do you like i

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