Biancone ponders Derby options

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Patrick Biancone is unsure about the prospects of both of his Kentucky Derby contenders, though he’s confident he can get Sole Volante firing for the big day.

A minor setback has stalled the plans for Été Indien, with the trainer now conceding he’s a ’50-50′ chance to make the ‘Run for the Roses’ in its rescheduled September slot.

Biancone meanwhile could be left waiting for a defection or two to get Sole Volante into the field at Churchill Downs, though he is certainly planning on being there.

Été Indien disappointed with a fourth-place finish in a Gulfstream Park allowance race won by Solo Volante when he was last on track in June and his trainer says things have not gone smoothly at home lately.

Sole Volante meanwhile was no better than sixth in a tired finish in the Belmont Stakes when he last ran, the Grade 1 event turning into a ‘bad experience’ so soon after allowance success.

“Été Indien had a little setback,” Biancone said from Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida. “The Derby will be a 50-50 possibility. And Sole Volante is recovered well from the bad experience in the Belmont. He’ll go straight for the Derby.”

Third in the Florida Derby in March behind Tiz The Law and Shivaree; Été Indien had previously won the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth at Gulfstream Park.

His trainer won’t force the issue in order to get him on track for September.

“We needed to be patient,” Biancone said. “I’ll see if he’s back to being 100 per-cent fit and sound and happy by the end of next week. If he is, he’ll be back on the (Derby) trail. If not, we’re not going to force him to do things.”

It appears that Biancone has regrets over allowing Sole Volante back up into the Belmont Derby only 10 days on from his previous run.

The Karakontie colt won the allowance race in which his stablemate Été Indien was the beaten favourite in early June. The trainer pins the blame for his Belmont flop on his own back.

“I got stupid to run him,” Biancone said. “I misjudged the energy level and the inside nervousness. He’s usually a very cool horse. So we took a shot. I made a wrong decision.”

With more than two months lead-in time to the Kentucky Derby, Biancone is adamant that a much better performance would be forthcoming from a horse proven to go well fresh.

“Each time he has been more than five weeks between races, he’s run a blinder,” the trainer noted. “He’s back to his best [at home]. And we’re going to come fresh on the 5th [September] for the Derby.”

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