11/04/2006 12:00AM

Street Sense wins by record margin

Email
Horsephotos
Street Sense, with Calvin Borel up, wins the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It took Street Sense only 1:42.59 to win the $2 million on Saturday at Churchill Downs, but it took less time than that for his trainer, Carl Nafzger, to put the first Saturday in November behind him and start looking at the first Saturday in May.

"We want to come back the first Saturday in May," Nafzger said, referring to the Kentucky Derby, run at the same track exactly six months from now. "That's when we want to be here."

Street Sense ($32.40) won the 1 1/16-mile race like a colt who could finally end the inglorious record of Juvenile winners who have never won the 1 1/4-mile Derby. Street Sense made a mockery of what appeared to be a wide-open race. He won by 10 lengths, a record margin in the Juvenile and the second-biggest in Breeders' Cup history behind the 13 1/2-length margin by which Inside Information captured the 1995 Distaff.

Circular Quay finished second, as the3-1 favorite, with Great Hunter another 2 1/4 lengths back in third. The first three finishers were all exiting the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, and thus struck a blow for horses who had prepped over that track's Polytrack surface.

Street Sense, breaking from the rail, dropped back to 13th in the 14-horse field early under jockey Calvin Borel, as Principle Secret, Stormello, and Pegasus Wind sped around the first turn and into the backstretch. They set fractions of 23.07 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.67 seconds for a half-mile.

As the field advanced around the far turn, Street Sense and Circular Quay, who had been last, both started their closing rushes. Street Sense got a dream run. Borel never left the rail, and the rail opened gloriously for him at the top of the stretch. Street Sense came through in an instant and immediately pulled clear of his rivals. He was so far in front at the end of the race that Borel took him in hand and eased him across the wire.

"I think he could have gone around the whole field. That's how confident I was," said Borel, who was winning his first Breeders' Cup race. I knew it was a matter of how far, I had so much horse."

Street Sense was brought along patiently and prudently by Nafzger, who has cut back on his training duties but still handles horses for Jim Tafel, who bred and owns Street Sense. Street Sense was second in his debut going six furlongs at Churchill Downs in July, defeated maidens going 6 1/2 furlongs at Arlington Park in August, came back in September and finished third in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, then was third in the Breeders' Futurity on Oct. 7 in his first try around two turns.

"I hate to brag. I like to downplay a horse," Nafzger said. "He was the perfect weanling. He was the perfect yearling. He's got a great mind on him. Then you've got to see if he's going to be a racehorse. I thought he would break his maiden his first trip. Look at the steps. Six furlongs, a mile, two turns at Keeneland. The fifth step was the Breeders' Cup. That was our plan, if he took us there.

"This was our prep for the Kentucky Derby in 2007," Nafzger said.

Now, Nafzger is hoping Street Sense, a son of Street Cry out of Bedazzle, can bring him back here in May. Nafzger won the Derby in 1990 with Unbridled, who gave Nafzger his previous lone Breeders' Cup victory, in the 1990 Classic.

Street Sense will now get a rest and will not race again until next year, Nafzger said.