Unlike the time he caused a flap at Belmont Park when he took off his jacket—he was shirtless under it—Hammer came to the Florida Derby wearing a relatively subdued red suit, white shirt and a multi-hued tie. And he bounced into the walking ring to shrieks of "Awww right!" and "Go, Ham-mer, go!"
The race set up as a sort of musical duel between Dance Floor, representing rap, and Pistols and Roses, whose name derives from the heavy-metal group Guns N' Roses. But befitting a son of Time for a Change, Technology introduced a new beat to the Kentucky Derby dance. Such a late bloomer that he wasn't even put in the first batch of Triple Crown nominees (owner Scott Savin now says he'll cough up the $4,500 necessary to make him a late nominee), Technology lay second to the honest pace set by Waki Warrior, moved with Dance Floor in the far turn and had so much left that he required only minimal whipping down the stretch. "He's not overraced," jockey Jerry Bailey said afterward. "And he hasn't reached his potential yet." Technology and Dance Floor could hook up again in the April 11 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland race course, depending upon the seriousness of Dance Floor's bleeding problem and whether he is, to borrow the title of another Hammer hit, too legit to quit.
Sometime after Hammer's bodyguards had politely muscled him through the crowd and away from the track, it became apparent that the biggest winner of the day was seven-year-old Tammy Savin. It was nice that her dad's colt won the Florida Derby. But she also got Hammer's autograph before the race.
Anybody want to bet on which prize she'll remember longer?