05/01/2006 12:00AM

Brother Derek has final work



LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Monday morning was a long one for anybody curious to see Kentucky Derby workouts. Beginning well before the break of dawn with STORM TREASURE and ending nearly four hours later when likely favorite BROTHER DEREK finally completed his half mile drill following the late arrival of jockey Alex Solis who flew here overnight on the red eye from California.

Storm Treasure and Brother Derek were two of the three Derby workers on Monday along with Private Vow, the trio breezing over a racetrack soaked by rains the previous day and which was officially listed as muddy by track clockers.

WORK OF THE DAY - Will split the honor among stablemates STORM TREASURE(five furlongs in 1:00.20) and PRIVATE VOW(five furlongs in :59.82) both of whom worked very early over a racetrack that had a lot more moisture to it than the one Brother Derek encountered later that morning.

Trainer Steve Asmussen's Derby duo turned in nearly identical works, Private Vow clocked approximately one fifth of second faster at every pole. Both horses had exercise rider Carmen Rojas aboard, equipped with a blinking red light on his helmet for easier viewing in the dark.

Storm Treasure was the first of the two to work, coming out immediately after the racetrack opened for training at 6:00 a.m. The well made chestnut is one of the lookers of this Derby field and once breaking off at the five furlong pole went along at an even pace, covering the opening quarter in :12.12, the quarter in :24.57 and half in :47.95 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.39 while under little urging. He did fan five or six paths off the rail turning for home seemingly in an attempt to find the best and safest footing over the wet track.

Storm Treasure figures to be one of the outsiders in the field but has trained nicely over the past several days and has the running style to take advantage of what figures to be an honest pace on Saturday.

Rojas returned ess than 30 minutes later with Private Vow who was a bit headstrong to begin, resulting in a slightly faster opening eighth mile split(11.98) than Storm Treasure. He too angled off the rail, although perhaps not quite as far as his mate, entering the stretch before completing his final quarter mile in a solid :23.73 and galloping out six furlongs in a near identical 1:14.20 seconds as Storm Treasure.

Private Vow has not seemed quite as eager to train as Storm Treasure in recent days but he was well focused and looked good once finally settling into stride a furlong into Monday's work.

Brother Derek(:49.36 seconds) was the horse everybody was waiting for especially since the likely Derby favorite did not look as sharp as usual in his final California work. The wait lasted until just after 9:30 a.m. and the anticipation proved to be greater than the end result as Solis, obviously under instructions from trainer Dan Hendricks, did not let Brother Derek do too much over a racetrack which had dried out gradually throughout the morning but which was still wet enough to be called muddy by late morning.

Breaking off at the half mile pole, Brother Derek posted relatively slow opening eighth and quarter mile splits of :12.96 and :25.06 while well in hand. He picked up the pace without urging coming off the turn and was striding out nicely coming across the wire, completing his final quarter in an effortless :24.30 before galloping out five-eighths in 1:03.21.

This work did little to wipe out the memory of what transpired last Monday at Santa Anita nor did it give anybody any reason to toss the Derby favorite. It was, simply put, a cautious, final maintenance move performed under less than optimum conditions by a very talented horse.

In between the two early and one late workout on Monday there was plenty of less strenuous but still noteworthy action to report regarding potential Derby contenders.

LAWYER RON was back to his old tricks 48 hours removed from Saturday's fast five furlong work, giving exercise rider Betsy Couch all she could do to keep him from running off completely during another high energy, 1.25 mile gallop. Couch had her feet in the dashboard and her hands pressed firmly against Lawyer Ron's neck, especially around the clubhouse turn, before finally getting the best of the situation prior to pulling the little dynamo up down the backstretch.

DEPUTY GLITTERS has flown under the radar since his arrive from New York late last week but had another a good morning, dropping down near the rail and reeling off several :14 and change furlongs over the wet track before finally coming to a halt well down the backstretch.

SUNRIVER looked sharp again before the renovation break as did JAZIL immediately afterwards.

Kentucky Oaks favorite BALANCE galloped for the first time since her arrival from California and looked a bit uncomfortable over the wet strip, remaining on her left lead for nearly her entire tour around the track.