Admiral's Voyage Wins Wood on Foul After Dead Heat With Sunrise County
The Shoe's Whip Angers Baeza But Riders' Tempers Cool Later
Sunrise County Bumping 'Almost' Broke His Leg, Winning Jockey Complains--Willie: Tried to Keep Mount Straight
by William R. Conklin
The jockey's controversy that followed the running of the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct yesterday developed into a high-powered argument between Braulio Baeza and Willie Shoemaker after their mounts finished in a dead heat.
Baeza, the 22-year-old Panamanian rider, was livid when he got off Admiral's Voyage, who finished just outside Shoemaker's mount, the favored Sunrise County. As he hit the scales, he lodged a claim of foul against Shoemaker. It was upheld and the offending horse was placed second.
Braulio complained angrily: "His horse kept bumping me and brushing me all the way--you can see where the outside of my left boot is scuffed. I never whipped Admiral's Voyage because he doesn't like to be hit. But Shoemaker kept waving his whip in front of my horse, and each time he did my horse hesitated a bit.
"If I had been running clear I had plenty of horse to beat him. Shoemaker's horse bumped me so much he almost had my leg broken."
Shoemaker was white-faced and silent when he dismounted. In the jockey's room later he said it had been the first time he had ridden Sunrise County. Others riders have had trouble keeping Sunrise County straight in earlier races.
The Shoe said: "I imagine I'll ride him in the Kentucky Derby. The horse tried to bear out and I took a good hold of him to keep him straight. In the stretch run I didn't think he was too bad. I kept flicking the whip on his right ear to try and keep him straight. If Baeza thinks I was trying to bother him with the whip, that may be a figment of his imagination.
"If Sunrise County had been on the outside of Baeza's horse, he probably would have been all right. We were well off the rail at the finish. It doesn't feel too good to finish in a dead heat and then get disqualified. I'm sure that if the stewards took the horse down, he deserved to be taken down. Anyhow, I'm not going to let it bother me."
Manuel Ycaza, the rider of the third-finishing Donut King, asked: "What happened, Shoe?"
"Had a dead heat but I didn't hold on to it for long," the Texan replied.
Ycaza reported that Donut King, owned by Verne H. Winchell, Jr., had hit himself several times during the race. Ycaza will decide after he rides in the Blue Grass at Keeneland whether he will pilot Ridan or Donut King in the Kentucky Derby at Louisville on May 5.
"They don't come back to me," Ycaza said of the Wood leaders. "They were really moving. I had good breaks all the way."
Larry Adams, who steered Robert Lehman's Prego to fourth place in the Wood, said: "He ran his race. At the three-sixteenths pole I thought we would get it, but the ones up front weren't stopping any. I'd like to ride this colt in the Derby. I've ridden him six times now, and with each race he seems to get stronger.
"He closed well today and had plenty of power in the late stages. The longer distance of the Derby, a mile and a quarter, should help him."
While both Shoemaker and Baeza were hot-tempered after the Wood, their temperatures returned to normal before the bugle sounded for the eighth race.
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