03/27/2006 12:00AM

Brother Derek puts in a real cool breeze


ARCADIA, Calif. - An outstanding six-furlong workout by Brother Derek on Sunday morning at Santa Anita solidified the colt's role as favorite for the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 8. Regular rider Alex Solis was aboard Brother Derek, who was timed in 1:11, breezing, the fastest of five works at the distance and as visually impressive as it looks on paper.

"It's mind-boggling. He's stronger from the last time I worked him," jockey Alex Solis said, adding that his gloves were upside down at the end of the workout because he had such a strong hold on Brother Derek. Working by himself at 9:20 a.m., Brother Derek broke off approaching the six-furlong pole, went the opening furlong in 12.20 seconds on trainer Dan Hendricks's watch, threw in successive 11-and-change eighths in the middle of the work, raced wide through the turn, and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:24. He was smooth as silk.

Solis shook his head in amazement after the work.

"It's scary - the good kind of scary," he said. A two-horse team broke off 10 lengths in front of Brother Derek, who Solis said "saw them and wanted to go after them the whole way. At the three-eighths pole I swung him five wide just to try to slow him down. He pulled up like he didn't even break a sweat."

Brother Derek will have one more workout Saturday or Sunday leading into the Santa Anita Derby, which could have six starters, including the San Felipe winner, A. P. Warrior, who worked an easy half-mile Sunday at Hollywood Park in 51.20 seconds.

The pace scenario for the Santa Anita Derby may have become complicated for front-running Brother Derek. That is because front-running sprinter Fast Parade, winner of the Baldwin Stakes on March 4, was nominated Saturday to the race for $2,500. Fast Parade would ensure a torrid pace in the derby, which would be his first start over a distance of ground.

Fast Parade raced gate to wire in the 6 1/2-furlong Baldwin Stakes on March 4, and has been on the lead in his last four starts, all sprints. Owned by Jim McIngvale and trained by Peter Miller, Fast Parade will have his status for the Santa Anita Derby determined this week. The other option is the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park on April 1.

"We're planning on stretching him out for his next start," Miller said, adding that Fast Parade "worked a real good mile," in reference to a 1:39.40 workout on March 24 at San Luis Rey. Fast Parade has won 3 of 5 starts, but has not raced beyond 6 1/2 furlongs. His Baldwin victory was his first start in five months.

Indy Wildcat, who won the $100,000 Borderland Derby on Feb. 26 at Sunland Park, also was a late $2,500 nominee to the Santa Anita Derby. He is also being considered for the WinStar Derby.

The potential Santa Anita Derby field, listed in order of approximate odds, includes Brother Derek, A. P. Warrior, Bob and John, Sacred Light, Fast Parade, and Indy Wildcat.

Trainer Bob Baffert will keep graded stakes winner Bob and John home for the Santa Anita Derby, but two of his other 3-year-olds may be headed out of town. Baffert said Point Determined, runner-up in the San Felipe on March 18, will be considered for the Grade 1 Blue Grass on April 15 at Keeneland.

"That would give him another week," Baffert said.

Sinister Minister, runner-up to Cause to Believe in the California Derby March 11 at Golden Gate Fields, is being considered for the Arkansas Derby on April 15.

Monday at Hollywood Park, Sacred Light worked seven furlongs in 1:25.

Lukas 'surprised' by latest honor

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has been out of Quarter Horse racing so long - he switched to Thoroughbreds in 1978 - that the American Quarter Horse Association's Hall of Fame was a longshot.

"That's a tough one to get in," Lukas said, but then an unexpected letter arrived from the American Quarter Horse Association that congratulated Lukas. When he is inducted next March he will be the first person to be voted into both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse halls of fame.

The latest honor will be the fourth Hall of Fame membership for Lukas. He joined the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame in 1999, and in 2005 he was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Lukas said that he was "surprised" at the latest honor because he had been out of Quarter Horse racing for 25 years, but that "this means as much as much to me as any of them."

Lukas, 70, began training Quarter Horses in 1968. He trained 23 Quarter Horse Champions, including two-time world champion Dash for Cash. Lukas was the leading Quarter Horse trainer by earnings for three consecutive years, 1974-76, and led all trainers in races won in 1970, 1974, and 1975.

Quick change of plans works out

Jockey Jon Court was drinking coffee Saturday morning at the Ontario, Calif., airport while waiting to board a plane to San Francisco, where he was scheduled to ride Capitano in the Golden Gate Fields Handicap. Then the cell phone rang, and Court learned the race had been moved to dirt and Capitano had been scratched.

"I thought it was going to be a nice, relaxing Saturday," Court said. Things changed quickly when Patrick Valenzuela was unable to ride at Santa Anita.

It left King's Drama without a jockey for the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap, and trainer Bobby Frankel quickly settled on Court.

"I didn't have much choice, but he's a good rider and rode Leroidesanimaux for me," Frankel said.

Saturday afternoon, Court rode King's Drama to a one-length win in the San Luis Rey, continuing a successful run for the jockey.

Court ranks fifth in the Santa Anita standings with 34 wins, and won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap on Healthy Addiction, and finished second on longshot Magnum in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Nagging pain benches Valenzuela

Valenzuela was off his mounts Sunday for the fourth time in five days, as he continues to be plagued by pain from a pinched nerve. Valenzuela missed Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and rode only the first four races Friday before taking off.

"It's all pain-related," Valenzuela's agent, Tom Knust, said. "It's frustrating for him, because he wants to ride."

Valenzuela underwent a precautionary MRI last week that revealed nothing more than a pinched nerve.

Valenzuela aggravated the nerve March 5 when he pulled up injured Bonus Pay Day in a $10,000 claiming race. Valenzuela, who has been submitting to daily drug testing by the California Horse Racing Board, was named on four horses Wednesday. His riding status will be determined by scratch time Tuesday.

* The pick six Sunday at Santa Anita returned $224,080 to a single ticket, purchased at Los Alamitos.