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Friday, May 5, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Derby contender Lawyer Ron is sold

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Lawyer Ron was sold Thursday but will race in the Kentucky Derby and thereafter in the blue-and-white silks of his late owner.

The executor of the late owner's estate said the horse sold for considerably more than the last Derby contender to be bought in the days before the race. War Emblem sold for $900,000 less than four weeks before winning the 2002 Derby.

Ron Bamberger, the executor and the horse's namesake, said a partial interest in Lawyer Ron was sold to Our Legal Team LLC and Stonewall Stallions LLC based in Versailles. Both entities are owned by Audrey Haisfield.

Jim Hines Jr., the former owner, died nearly three months ago in Owensboro in what was ruled an accidental drowning.

Lawyer Ron, one of the favorites for the first leg of the Triple Crown, is the first Derby entry to come out of Hines Farm, which has about 70 horses in western Kentucky.

Lawyer Ron will continue to be trained by Bob Holthus and ridden by John McKee. When the colt retires, he will go to stud at Stonewall.

"It's unbelievable," said Bert Welker, general manager at Stonewall. "We've been in negotiation with them. We didn't know if we'd be able to close before the Derby."

Saturday

Kentucky Derby, post time 3:04 p.m., Ch. 5

Laine Nunn, the oldest of Hines' six children, said while the family has grown attached to the horse since Hines' death, it was better to put the future of the horse in more experienced hands. The family eventually plans to dissolve Hines Farm.

Lawyer Ron will start from the No. 17 post in the Derby as the 4-1 second choice. He has won six straight races on dirt, including the Arkansas Derby last month.

Holthus said the sale "won't affect our preparations" for the Derby. Lawyer Ron "doesn't know anything about it and I'm not going to tell him."

Bamberger said the deal was timed to maximize the horse's value.

"An asset like this is worth so much," he said. "To risk it is not the proper thing to do."

Note

Datrick took the lead in the stretch to win by 1 lengths in the $176,750 Grade III Kentucky Breeders' Cup for 2-year-olds Thursday at Churchill Downs.

In the day's other feature race, Unbridled Sidney fell behind in the stretch but made a late comeback to win by a nose in the $113,600 Mamzelle for fillies and mares, 3 years old and up.

Datrick covered 5 furlongs in 58.37 seconds and paid $7.40, $4.40 and $3.60.

In the Mamzelle, Unbridled Sidney covered 5 furlongs on turf in 56.96 seconds and paid $9.80, $5.20 and $4.20.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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