04/03/2006 12:00AM

Brother Derek looks imposing


ARCADIA, Calif. - Brother Derek, the current favorite for the Kentucky Derby, is impressing those closest to him, and those who are considering facing him, as he heads into the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on Saturday. He came out of his final work on Sunday so well that on Monday he walked under tack, instead of having a day off. And he has scared away all but a handful of serious contenders. As of Monday, only six other 3-year-olds were scheduled to face Brother Derek in the Santa Anita Derby, California's final major prep for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.

Brother Derek worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 Sunday at Santa Anita with his regular jockey, Alex Solis, aboard. As in recent works, he went along so easily that clockers designated the drill "breezing," which is given stingily in California.

"Everything's good out of the work," his trainer, Dan Hendricks, said Monday morning. "I tack-walked him this morning. I didn't give him a whole day off, just half a day. He worked just like we wanted."

Entries for the Santa Anita Derby are to be taken, and post positions drawn, on Wednesday morning. Taking on Brother Derek are three accomplished runners - A. P. Warrior, Point Determined, and Sacred Light - and three who will be longshots of varying degrees: Fast Parade, Indy Wildcat, and Wildfang.

A. P. Warrior and Point Determined ran one-two, respectively, in the San Felipe Stakes three weeks ago. Sacred Light was second to Brother Derek in the Santa Catalina Stakes five weeks ago.

Fast Parade captured the Baldwin Stakes at Santa Anita on March 4. The Santa Anita Derby will be his first start beyond 6 1/2 furlongs. Indy Wildcat scored the first victory of his career in last month's Borderland Derby at Sunland Park, with a Beyer Speed Figure of 73. Wildfang most recently finished second in a maiden-claiming race at odds of 70-1.

Both Indy Wildcat and Point Determined worked within minutes of Brother Derek on Sunday. Indy Wildcat, trained by Paula Capestro, was timed in 48.20 seconds for a half-mile. Tyler Baze, who will ride Indy Wildcat in the Santa Anita Derby, was aboard.

Point Determined, trained by Bob Baffert, worked five furlongs in 59.80 with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard. Rafael Bejarano has the mount on Saturday; Espinoza will be at Keeneland to ride Balance in the Ashland Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Sacred Light on Sunday worked six furlongs in 1:12 at Hollywood Park under Aaron Gryder, who has the mount on Saturday for trainer David Hofmans.