Whittingham says of Sil's owners, "I've been partners with many different types of people. What they collect is up to them." What Whittingham collects is purses, such as the hefty $278,250 first-place money that was added to Temperate Sil's career earnings of $575,375. And that ain't garbage.
Sil's major weakness is that he hates an off track—he had lost his previous two races on surfaces that were less than fast. "He can't run in the mud," said Whittingham. "But he works well and trains easy. He does whatever we ask him. We can rate this horse, and he's easy to get going when you ask. He runs with his head down and his butt up. He'd make a hell of a blacksmith, wouldn't he?"
The Shoe, who had just won his eighth Santa Anita Derby, was impressed with his horse and compared him favorably with last year's Kentucky Derby winner. "I liked Ferdinand much better until today. This horse showed me a lot, and he's getting better." And bettors looking for an edge would do well to keep in mind that every nine years the Santa Anita Derby winner goes on to win the Kentucky Derby. Majestic Prince did it in 1969, Affirmed in 1978. Will history repeat itself in '87?
With no clear favorites emerging on Saturday, there are plenty of 3-year-olds with room to improve in the next month. The week after next, there'll be another horse-racing Super Saturday. Besides the rematch in the Wood, the Arkansas Derby will feature Demons Begone, who is unbeaten as a 3-year-old.
So, do all the upsets mean that 1987 is a bad year for Kentucky Derby horses? Not according to Whittingham. "Every year people say it's a poor crop," says the man known as the Bald Eagle. "And even when you have a Secretariat, people say it's a poor crop except for one horse."
And so the questions continue. Will Gone West go south to Churchill Downs and win? Will Schulhofer find Louisville to his liking? Will luck be a lady to Lukas? Will the garbage men come up smelling like roses? Stay tuned.