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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Petalino Says Owners Don't Have Derby Fever 'Too Much'

3/13/2011

J P's Gusto has finished second in three of four starts at two turns, and questions linger about his chances as the distances grow longer on the Derby Trail. Petalino says the team isn't getting ahead of themselves.

"All the national handicappers and media are calling and comparing his chances to get a mile-and-a-quarter," he said. "Last I checked, the Rebel and the Arkansas Derby aren't a mile-and-a-quarter. The owners don't appear to have 'Derby fever' too much. They sent him here because they liked the distance progression and they are out to enjoy each race as it comes."

Ramon Dominguez will be back in J P's Gusto's saddle in Saturday's Grade II Rebel Stakes. The Grade III Southwest runner-up breezed five furlongs in :59.40 today working in company.

"We were looking for something a little sharper," said trainer Joe Petalino after J P's Gusto zipped along the rail, ticking fractions of :24.00 and :47.60. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.20.

"He had been just plodding along by himself with what he had been doing and had been doing it easily. We wanted to put something in front of him to make him a little sharper. That's what he needs because the water is getting a little deeper now."


--Edited from track notes

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