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It wasn't much of a joy ride
William Leggett
March 19, 1979
Spectacular Bid won the Florida Derby, but he had to survive a bumpy journey that left jockey Ron Franklin in tears
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March 19, 1979

It Wasn't Much Of A Joy Ride

Spectacular Bid won the Florida Derby, but he had to survive a bumpy journey that left jockey Ron Franklin in tears

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"You were pulling up in the first turn when all you had to do was go by him," Delp screamed at his jockey. "Why didn't you go by that SOB? And what are you doing going on the inside back there? You go outside with the SOB."

It is doubtful that any horse has been in so much serious trouble so many times in a major stakes as Spectacular Bid and still overcome those problems to win. Twice it looked as if he might be heading for a spill, and at the start Franklin was almost pitched in the sand. Although Delp continued to rip into Franklin long after the race ("The smartest thing about Ronnie is that he knows he isn't smart," the trainer said), he also maintained that several of the other riders had "ganged up" on Spectacular Bid and his jockey. Franklin agreed. "They teamed up on me," he said. "What could I do? They were yelling all over the place, 'Go to the inside, go to the outside.' " Delp later said he wouldn't consider Angel Cordero or Jorge Velasquez, whom Franklin particularly criticized, as a possible rider for Spectacular Bid. Both Velasquez, who had been taken off Spectacular Bid last fall after two rides, and Cordero denied Franklin's accusations.

Although Franklin gave the colt a horrendous ride, Delp's tantrum led to expressions of sympathy for his jockey.

"Heck, Delp knew that sooner or later Franklin was going to ride Spectacular Bid into a jam," one of Delp's friends said. " Franklin just doesn't have that much experience. Delp was lucky the major mistake happened long before the Kentucky Derby. But screaming at the kid was completely uncalled for."

How good is Spectacular Bid? Very. He has now rattled off eight consecutive stakes and won races over seven different tracks. His only two losses occurred early in his 2-year-old campaign, and Delp maintains that Bid has accomplished more at this stage of his career than Secretariat, Seattle Slew or Affirmed had in theirs. "Bid is a cinch to win the Triple Crown," Delp says. As for the March 24 Flamingo, Delp is even more emphatic. "Heck," he says, "I weigh 195 pounds and I could ride Spectacular Bid and win the Flamingo."

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