03/29/2006 1:00AM

Baffert sends in Wanna Runner


With Borderland Derby winner Indy Wildcat waiting for next Saturday's Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, another Southern California invader, Wanna Runner, looms the horse to beat for Saturday's $600,000 at Sunland Park. Wanna Runner drew post 5 in a field of nine entered Wednesday for the 1 1/8-mile race.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Wanna Runner has done some good work in California, including running third in the Grade 2 San Rafael behind Brother Derek and Stevie Wonderboy in January.

Southern California runners have won two of the three runnings of the WinStar Derby. Baffert has sent five runners here and has yet to win despite a number of good showings. Spensive and Apalachian Thunder were second and third for him in 2003, Consecrate and Teton Forest were second and sixth in 2004, and Sort It Out was third behind Thor's Echo last year. Baffert will also run Sky Diving in the WinStar. Sky Diving finished second in the Turf Paradise Derby in mid-February. He drew the rail for Saturday.

Wait in Line landed post 2. He finished full of run to lose by a head to Indy Wildcat in the Borderland Derby on Feb. 26.

Keagan, one of the top 3-year-olds on the Arizona circuit, drew post 3. He rallied to win the Turf Paradise Derby for trainer Eric Kruljac.

Doctor Decherd is back after running eighth in the Borderland. Trained by Steve Asmussen, he won the Aventura at Gulfstream Jan. 7 and finished sixth behind Barbaro in the Grade 3 Holy Bull there.

Any horse that can win the Borderland, WinStar, and Kentucky derbys would earn a $500,000 bonus. Only Indy Wildcat is eligible and he forfeits a shot at that money by passing this race.

The WinStar Derby highlights a four-stakes card at Sunland on Saturday. The derby goes as race 7 on a card that also contains the $250,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks, $100,000 Harry Henson Handicap, and $100,000 New Mexico Breeders Derby.

WinStar Derby field

Pgm.HorseRiderML Odds
2Sky DivingJulio Garcia 7/2
1Wait In LineKen Tohill9/2
3KeaganScott Stevens4/1
4Doctor DechardShawn Bidgmohan 9/2
5Wanna RunnerVictor Espinoza5/2
6Welfare CadillacRicky Frazier15/1
7Blaze ItDavid Cohen10/1
8Might Be HookedMiguel Perez20/1
1ABelligerenceQuyet Bui 9/2