09/04/2010 9:37AM

Imawildandcrazyguy still going


MIAMI – His glory days might be over but trainer Bill Kaplan still has a soft spot in his heart for Imawildandcrazyguy, who goes after his first victory in nearly a year in Monday’s $31,600 optional claiming feature at Calder.

Imawildandcrazyguy took Kaplan to the Kentucky Derby three years ago, when he rallied from last, nearly two dozen lengths off the lead, to finish fourth behind Street Sense while coming within just a half-length of catching Curlin for third. It was the highlight in a career that has seen Imawildandcrazyguy, a gelded son of Wild Event, bank nearly $650,000 for owners Lewis Pell and Michael Eigner.

“I still think about the Derby and what this horse did for me,” said Kaplan. “It was my 15 minutes of fame and his 15 minutes of fame. I told Mark Guidry to let him fall back as far as he wanted and see how many horses he could pass through the stretch, and he nearly got them all. I went to the Derby with no pressure, we never thought we had a chance to win, and it turned out to be a great, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I had a ball.”

The Kentucky Derby was one of four Grade 1 races Imawildandcrazyguy ran in at 3. He was also sixth in the Florida Derby, sixth in the Belmont, and fourth in the Haskell.

“This horse never had any speed from the day I got him, which made him susceptible to the pace and the trip every time he ran,” said Kaplan. “In fact it’s amazing a horse without speed could end up making over $600,000 like he has.”

Imawildandcrazyguy will have to catch the speedy Tripofalifetime and the in-form Concorde’s Fury if he’s to get his first win of the year in Monday’s main event.

“He can win Monday, it’s not impossible, but he’ll need some help as always with the pace,” said Kaplan who has won 13 races during the meet. “He’s 6 years old now and has lost a step or two of the speed he never had. But he’s still got great endurance, still tries, and still loves the game, so we’ll let him keep going as long as he can stay competitive in these types of allowance races.”

Tripofalifetime has captured two of his last three starts, both victories coming in races switched from the turf to the main track. Trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., he figures to be dogged from the outset by Concorde’s Fury, who chased home the loose-on-the-lead Cinnamon Road in a similar race here three weeks earlier.