Updated on 09/17/2011 9:19PM

Sis City the life of Goldfarb's party


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For the last several years, Sandy Goldfarb and about 150 of his closest friends have descended upon Churchill Downs to party and perhaps run a few horses on the undercard of the Oaks or Derby.

This year, it's more like a business trip.

Goldfarb is part-owner of Sis City, who figures to go off a prohibitive favorite in Friday's $500,000 . And while Goldfarb and friends still plan to have fun, they will let Sis City hog the spotlight.

"We had planned to bring a few horses to run, but we canceled that," said Goldfarb, who in 2001 won two races on the Derby undercard. "It's her show."

Goldfarb, a commodities trader on Wall Street, was part of the group that claimed Sis City for $50,000 last August at Saratoga. There were three others partners in the group, including New York Yankees manager Joe Torre.

In six starts since the claim, Sis City has won four stakes, including the Grade 2 Davona Dale by 16 lengths and the Grade 1 Ashland by 10 1/2. Prior to the Ashland, Goldfarb, Torre, and partners sold a 75 percent interest in Sis City to Stonerside Stable for nearly $2 million.

Goldfarb said he is extremely pumped up for the race because of how well trainer Richard Dutrow tells him Sis City is doing at Churchill.

"She loved Keeneland; she got around the track like a hoop around a barrel," Goldfarb said. "But she's doing even better at Churchill. They can run rabbits at her, anything they want. [If trainer] Bernie Flint wants his horse [Runway Model] to go, let her go, we don't need the lead. This horse is serious."

Though Torre will be at Yankee Stadium on Friday, his wife, Ali, and six of her sisters plan to attend the races. Goldfarb said Torre would be watching from the clubhouse.

"He's very into it," Goldfarb said. "He's very knowledgeable about the game. Rick and I were in the clubhouse one day and you'd think he'd be filling out the lineup card, instead he had 10 Racing Forms sprawled over his desk."

Ellis misses Declan's Moon

While naturally happy to be in the Kentucky Derby with Don't Get Mad, trainer Ron Ellis said the horse is no substitute for Declan's Moon, last year's 2-year-old champion who is forced to miss the Derby due to injury.

"Nope, because I thought the other horse would have come in here vying for favoritism," Ellis said. "This horse has been coming on and it's sure been nice, but there's no replacing the other horse."

Declan's Moon underwent surgery in March to take a chip out of his knee. He is convalescing in Ellis's Santa Anita barn and is likely to return to the races in the fall.

Don't Get Mad will be running back just seven days after winning the Derby Trial last Saturday. Ellis, who is known as a conservative trainer, said he is not concerned about wheeling this colt back so quickly. Ellis said he has done well bringing cheaper horses back in seven days.

According to Daily Racing Form statistics, Ellis is 1 for 1 since 2000 bringing horses back in a week. On Jan. 18, 2003, Ellis ran Carthage in a maiden special weight race at Santa Anita, where he finished sixth, beaten 8 1/2 lengths. Six days later, he ran him in a maiden claiming race for a tag of $80,000 and Carthage won by 9 1/2 lengths.

"I ran him back because I was so mad at him," Ellis said. "I knew he was better than that. I didn't think he tried at all."

Though Don't Get Mad has run four times this year, Ellis considers him a relatively fresh horse.

"I gave him the race first time out when he ran second, his next race was in the mud - and I don't think he extended himself on that hard, muddy track - and next race he didn't fire, so he's a pretty fresh horse," Ellis said.

On Wednesday, Don't Get Mad went back to the track for the first time since the Trial, jogging one mile.

"He jogged with a lot of energy today," Ellis said. "He was feeling pretty good."

West Point bringing in the troops

About 400 soldiers who have served in the Iraq war will be special guests at Churchill on Derby Day, thanks to a special fund created and managed by the West Point Thoroughbreds ownership syndicate.

The Thoroughbred Thank You Fund has arranged for soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division to make the Derby Day trip from Fort Campbell, Ky., a U.S. Army base located some three hours west of Louisville. The soldiers will be treated to round-trip transportation, general admission, betting vouchers, and various other gifts.

West Point president Terry Finley, a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, said the syndicate "had been looking to involve horse racing in some effort to express our heartfelt thanks and support to our troops."

The fund, he added, "was something we felt very good about starting."

Dedeaux takes swing at Derby

The most legendary figure in college baseball history will be attending his first Kentucky Derby at 91.

Rod Dedeaux, who won the College World Series a record 11 times during his 45-year tenure as head coach at the University of Southern California, will be among the huge crowd here Saturday. Dedeaux said he has never had the opportunity to see the Derby in person but accepted an invitation from business associates this year.

"Growing up in Louisiana, I remember listening to the Derby on the radio," said Dedeaux. "I've always loved the Derby. Even when we had games on Derby Day at USC, we would take a short break and let everybody listen to it, then start playing the game again."

At USC, Dedeaux coached future superstars Tom Seaver, Mark McGwire, Randy Johnson, Fred Lynn, and dozens of other major-league players. In 1999, he was named by Collegiate Baseball magazine as Coach of the Century.

Dedeaux said he will be rooting for Bellamy Road in the Derby because of their shared baseball ties: Bellamy Road is owned by New York Yankees boss George Steinbrenner. "I'd like to think George and I are good friends from all our years in baseball," said Dedeaux.

Ghostzapper works

With all the focus on the Kentucky Derby, reigning Horse of the Year Ghostzapper has gone relatively unnoticed this week. On Thursday, Ghostzapper worked six furlongs in 1:15.40 while equipped with blinkers.

With Javier Castellano in New York, trainer Bobby Frankel had Joe Deegan work Ghostzapper. Frankel said Ghostzapper is still being pointed to the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont on May 30.

Churchill guaranteeing pool sizes

Churchill is guaranteeing a high volume of wagering on three pools this weekend. The guarantee on Friday is a $500,000 pick four on races 7-10, ending with the Kentucky Oaks. On Saturday, there is a $500,000 guaranteed pick six on races 5-10, ending with the Derby; and a $1 million pick four on races 7-10, ending with the Derby.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee