09/22/2004 12:00AM

California duo side by side


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Imperialism and Borrego arrived together from Southern California on Wednesday for the Grade 2, $500,000 , and will end up side by side in the starting gate when the 1 1/8-mile race is run for the 25th time Saturday at Louisiana Downs.

Entries for the Super Derby, as well as three supporting stakes, were taken on Wednesday.

Imperialism, the race's probable favorite, will break from post 7, while Borrego drew to his inside and will start from gate 6. They head a field of nine for the Super Derby. Others in the race include Cryptograph, who drew the rail, and Britt's Jules, who drew post 2 right inside of main pace rival South Africa.

Kent Desormeaux will ride Imperialism for Steve Taub and trainer Kristin Mulhall.

"I'm happy with 7," said Taub. "Kent will have the opportunity to let the horse break out how he wants."

A victory by Imperialism would make Mulhall, 22, the youngest trainer and first female trainer to win the Super Derby. Desormeaux is seeking his second win in the race. He won the Super Derby with Soul of the Matter in 1994.

Borrego arrived on the same flight as Imperialism. Trained by Beau Greely, the horse will be ridden by Tyler Baze. In his last start, Borrego was second in the $80,000 El Cajon at Hollywood Park, and earlier this year he was runner-up in the $1 million Arkansas Derby and the $750,000 Louisiana Derby.

The field from the rail with riders: Cryptograph, Don Pettinger; Britt's Jules, Guy Smith; South Africa, John Jacinto; Xirius, Fernando Jara; Fantasticat, Gerard Melancon; Borrego; Imperialism; Mr. Jester, Lonnie Meche; and Caballero Negro, Corey Lanerie.

The Super Derby is the 10th of 13 races on the card, with a special first post set at 12:15 p.m. Central. The Super Derby is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.

The forecast for Saturday is a high of 84 degrees, and a chance of thunderstorms.

On the undercard, Topango heads the $100,000 DeBartolo Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies that will go as the sixth. The $50,000 Donnie Wilhite will go as the eighth, and it drew a field of 13, including Exploited Storm, the probable favorite to be ridden by Desormeaux.

Desormeaux also will ride Z Storm against 12 others in the inaugural $75,000 Harrah's Juvenile.