10/09/2003 12:00AM

Tym Beau hits new heights


August 30, 2003, is a date Lynnett Hershbell will never forget. Within the span of several hours, Hershbell saddled her first stakes winner in a Thoroughbred race worth $200,000, and then got married.

"How can you top winning a $200,000 stakes on your wedding day?" Hershbell said, jokingly. "The only way I can top it is to win the Kentucky Derby."

That may sound like an impossible dream for a small-time trainer best known for working with Arabians, especially since Hershbell's leading Thoroughbred prospect is a 2-year-old gelding she describes as a "midget."

But history has a way of repeating itself. Tym Beau, who paid $43.60 winning the NATC Futurity at Delaware Park in his last start five weeks ago, will start in Saturday's $100,000 Dover Stakes at one mile. Horses that have run well in the Dover often are successful in the Kentucky Derby.

Consider these examples:

* In 1950, Count Turf won the Dover and, the following May, won the Kentucky Derby.

* In 1960, Carry Back finished second in the Dover and won the 1961 Kentucky Derby.

* In 1974, Foolish Pleasure won the Dover and the 1975 Derby.

* In 1996, Captain Bodgit won the Dover and finished second in the Derby.

The Dover was contested at six furlongs from the race's inception in 1937 until 2000, but the distance was increased to a mile in 2001.

Tym Beau's emergence as a contender in the Dover and Hershbell's venture beyond the world of Arabians is an improbable tale.

Two years ago, Hershbell thought about branching into Thoroughbred racing and was introduced to Charles "Dutch" Pappan, an owner who had a few horses with trainer Brent Sumja.

Hershbell was asked to inspect a group of yearlings Sumja, Pappan, and another partner had purchased at the Timonium sale in Maryland and pick out a horse she would like to train.

"But when I looked at them, there was not really any in the bunch that I liked," Hershbell said. "I finally got my shot, and I was going to have to tell Mr. Pappan that I didn't like them. But I decided that if and when I started training Thoroughbreds, I should do it under better conditions."

Instead of being insulted, Pappan respected Hershbell's honest evaluation. Pappan sold his stake in the partnership and invited Hershbell to help choose a horse at the next Timonium sale. They chose Niolie, who wound up finishing second in last year's NATC Futurity.

In the spring of 2003, Pappan told Hershbell to scout for something worth buying at a 2-year-old in training sale in Ocala, Fla., so long as the horse didn't exceed his usual ceiling price of $25,000.

"I looked at about 15 horses and finally found Tymmy [Tym Beau]," Hershbell said. "He was the second to last horse in the sale. The bid went to $25,000, and I noticed some of the bigger guys were getting interested, so I thought I had no shot.

"But Dutch said, 'If you really like him, go to $35,000,' and we got him."

Tym Beau stands about 15.1 hands, which is small, even for a 2-year-old. Like another horse at the Ocala sale, Tym Beau is a son of Peaks and Valley. The other Peaks and Valley 2-year-old sold for $300,000 after running under tack one-fifth of a second faster than Tym Beau.

"He's a midget," Hershbell said. "I guess nobody liked him because he was so little."

He can run, however. Tym Beau won his career debut at Delaware by 3 1/4 lengths and has two more victories and a second in his other three starts, all sprints. Hershbell believes Tym Beau will be even better going long.

"I watch him train every day and in my opinion, he's a lousy sprinter," she said. "I definitely think he is a route horse. What we really love about him is we can send him anywhere. He can go to the lead and he can relax. If a horse goes by him, you better hold on because he is going to go get him."

If Tym Beau runs well in the Dover, Hershbell plans to point him to either the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs or the Grade 3 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct. Both races take place Nov. 2.

Tym Beau's competition in the Dover includes Capejinsky, second in last month's one-mile White Ash Stakes, and Tsuzomin, an easy winner of his first two career starts sprinting at Philadelphia Park.