Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wide Awake Yates: Bethalto Couple Has Derby Contender

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wide Awake Yates: Bethalto Couple Has Derby Contender

Article excerpt

Darrell and Evelyn Yates of Bethalto have six children, but it's a 3-year-old horse that's keeping them up at night.

That's because the horse, Crypto Star, could win Saturday's Kentucky Derby at fabled Churchill Downs in Louisville.

As Darrell Yates put it, "The closer (the race) gets the tougher it gets. My wife is handling it about the same as I am. Not very well. "We're doing a lot of pacing. We can't sleep good. We're up and down. But it's exciting." Same goes for Wayne Catalano, who trains Crypto Star for the Yates. He has been in Louisville tending to Crypto Star for two weeks since the horse won the Arkansas Derby. "It's still some time away. But I wish it were now," Catalano said. "I'm doing all right. I do have a little problem sleeping, though." At least the horse is keeping his cool. Catalano galloped Crypto Star last week and found that the colt had learned something new. "He picked his head up and was beginning to understand what was happening," said Catalano, a former jockey. "He's training very good and we're excited about the way he's training into this race." Catalano, who worked under renowned trainer Jack Van Berg (Alysheba 1987), still needs to work with the horse on crowd noise. While Crypto Star has raced in front of large crowds before, nothing has been like the Kentucky Derby crowd of more than 140,000. Crypto Star's jockey is Pat Day, who won the 1992 Derby on Lil E. Tee. While some horses wear ear muffs to muffle crowd noise while being led to the paddock or while racing, Catalano has no plan to do that with Crypto Star. In fact, when Churchill opened last week for its spring schedule, Catalano walked the horse to the paddock just like he was going to race. "This is supposed to help the horse," Catalano said. "He'll get a little idea of what's happening and it won't be a shock to him. He'll be there and have done that." `Money Back Guarantee?' Yates, 60, has owned thoroughbreds for 20 years. He purchased Crypto Star for $100,000 at the Keeneland yearling sales in September 1995. Before Crypto Star, the best horse Yates had was Little Sucker, who was the 2-year-old Illinois Filly of the Year in 1991. "We've gone through some horses in our days," said Yates, who owns RCS Construction of Wood River. "We've had hopes for all of them. But (Crypto Star) is the first one that worked out. We've had some small stakes horses. But nothing like this." Of the Yates' six children, five are boys who attended Bethalto High. "They're all crazy about sports and try to go to the baseball, hockey, football or whatever games they can," Yates said. The family lives on "a 25 or 30-acre farm" about a mile north of Bethalto. "We're country folks," Yates said. "We've got a couple of barns with some horses out here." The thought of racing in the Derby has Yates' head spinning. …

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