04/30/2008 12:00AM

Clocker report 4/30: Derby favorites gallop


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The majority of the important work is done, and by mid-morning Wednesday all the Kentucky Derby starters were finally on the grounds following the arrival of trainer Todd Pletcher's pair of Monba and Cowboy Cal from Keeneland. Now all that remains to be done is for trainers to try and maintain their horses' present condition and wait, mostly wait, for post time Saturday.

The weather remained on the chilly side Wednesday. None of the Derby horses worked. What did take place was a steady procession of gallops of varying lengths and degrees of intensity, with much of the attention focused, as expected, on likely favorites Big Brown and Colonel John.

Big Brown came onto the racetrack shortly before 7 a.m. for a routine gallop and visit to the starting gate. As was the case Tuesday, Big Brown was equipped in bell boots, presumably to help protect the quarter cracks he's had to deal with since last fall.

Following a near perfect tour of the course Tuesday, perhaps it would be nit-picking to point out Big Brown remained on his left lead while galloping through the stretch after switching perfectly on all turns the previous morning. Other than that, he was pretty much flawless once again, kicking up his heels a bit while walking around awaiting the opening of the starting gate and just prior to his brief schooling session.

Big Brown was scheduled to blow out three furlongs Thursday.

Colonel John waited until much of the heavy traffic had cleared following the renovation before walking onto the track at 8:45 a.m. He then spent plenty of time taking in the surroundings and making his way around to the frontside before reversing direction and breaking off into a smooth and very relaxed gallop. The long striding colt gobbled up the ground effortlessly while looking quite relaxed and seemingly none the worse for wear from Sunday's swift five-furlong work.

Pyro, out as usual before daybreak, galloped for the first time since his half-mile work Monday and continues to look well. He was followed several minutes later by the Bill Mott pair of Court Vision and Z Humor along with Smooth Air.

Court Vision and Z Humor continue to flourish and were a contrast in styles, Court Vision looking quite relaxed while his stablemate was extremely aggressive, forcing his rider to take a very short hold to prevent him from getting away around the clubhouse turn.

Smooth Air also had his best day since returning to the track Sunday after missing a couple of mornings due to a slight temperature, which spiked Thursday. Smooth Air galloped at a strong pace the second time around and will get to let off some of that steam when blowing out a quarter-mile through the stretch at the end of Thursday morning's two-mile gallop.

Cool Coal Man doesn't have the prettiest way of going, but he did have what might have been his best morning this week, bowing his neck and giving his rider all she could handle to keep him from doing too much. Adriano also had a good morning and seems to be getting more and more comfortable with the local surface. Recapturetheglory was aggressive as well.

Gayego, on the other hand, did not look as smooth during his routine gallop as he did after first arriving here last week.