Trippi States His Case
With his wire-to-wire win in the Flamingo Stakes at Gulfstream last Saturday, Trippi, a handsome, long-striding bay named for Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Charley Trippi, earned a trip to the Kentucky Derby. The colt, sired by End Sweep, has won all four of his career starts. "I found out after his first race that the horse was named for me," the 78-year-old Trippi said last week from his home in Athens, Ga. "I had no idea he would be this good."
Just how good Trippi is has become a matter of considerable debate. He won his first two starts by a combined 14 lengths while racing on the lead, then came from off the pace to win the seven-furlong Swale Stakes at Gulfstream on March 11. Trippi's detractors point out that he didn't start as a 2-year-old (no such colt has won the Derby since Apollo in 1882) and that he has yet to beat any Derby contenders of note. There are also doubts about whether he can go the Derby distance of a mile and a quarter. The 1?-mile Flamingo was Trippi's first race around two turns.
"I wouldn't be flabbergasted if he couldn't get the distance," says Cot Campbell, Trippi's co-owner, who has also named other horses after famous athletes. "But I wouldn't be astonished if he could. I'm not saying we're going to win the Derby, but I think we've earned the right to run in it."