With Conte Di Savoya, Jolley will have his eye not only on the $1 million bonus but also on the winner's circle. Jolley has trained two Kentucky Derby winners. Foolish Pleasure (1975) and Genuine Risk ('80), and he knows how perilous the straits of Churchill Downs can be. He figures he would have won the Blue Grass from Pistols and Roses if his colt had not been stopped behind a wall of horses at the [3/16] pole. Conte Di Savoya has had three races at nine furlongs this year, and Jolley reckons that is enough to prepare him for the Derby's 10 furlongs. "All you have to do is smile at him, and he'll go a mile and a quarter." he says.
Jolley also suspects that Arazi is no cinch. Speaking for many U.S. trainers, he says that when Arazi won the Juvenile, his chief edge was that he was coming off five stakes victories in France and thus had vastly more seasoning than any other baby in the Juvenile. Arazi no longer has that advantage. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in November to remove spurs from his knees, and he has had only one start this spring, a live-length victory over a modest field at the Saint-Cloud racecourse, outside Paris, on April 7. Arazi ran an ordinary 1:48 over a distance just short of a mile. "I think Arazi has a tougher hill to climb this spring than he did last fall." says Jolley.
All of which makes perfect sense, of course. Still, the belief here is that Arazi will make a show of these horses and this Derby.