Updated on 09/18/2011 12:51AM

Clocker's Report, Wednesday, April 26

Lawyer Ron gallops two miles under exercise rider Betsy Couch at Churchill Downs on Thursday.

Lawyer Ron looks strong galloping two miles

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With nearly half the prospective starting lineup for the 2006 Kentucky Derby not yet in attendance and the majority of the final local workouts scheduled for the weekend, training hours at Churchill Downs on Wednesday presented limited opportunities to make any serious assessments of this year's Derby hopefuls. The two most significant impressions during the morning were made by Arkansas Derby winner Lawyer Ron and the bone-chilling temperatures in the low 40's, which even had the local hardboots shivering.

Lawyer Ron entered the track at his customary time, just before the renovation break. While he appears to have a body type more befitting a sprinter than a stayer, Lawyer Ron galloped a solid two miles under regular exercise rider Betsy Couch, finishing up the second mile as willingly and as strongly as the first.

Fitness and the added distance may prove less of a problem for Lawyer Ron on Derby Day than his own eagerness, some of which was on display Wednesday - especially the second time around the clubhouse turn, which he negotiated with his head cocked and mouth open. It will be interesting to track his progress and see if he's able to harness some of that enthusiasm in the final days leading up to the Derby.

Sharp Humor was the only Derby trainee at Churchill Downs who brought the stopwatch out of the pocket, and even he did little more than stretch his legs at the end of a one-mile gallop, blowing out a final quarter-mile down the stretch in 26 and change over a drying-out, fast racetrack. The blowout was an interesting change of pace just six days removed from working a mile in 1:38 here last Thursday. The only two official Derby works took place 3,000 miles apart, with Deputy Glitters breezing five furlongs at Belmont Park and Sacred Light seven furlongs at Hollywood Park.

Steppenwolfer, a late-runner in a field loaded with speed, figures to be included at least on the bottom portion of many a Derby exotic ticket, even though he certainly won't win any beauty contests in the morning. He never warmed out of his short, choppy stride during his gallop, although one of the Churchill Downs clockers, who watched him train all winter at Oaklawn Park, said that has basically been his style all along.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out only one of his three potential Derby starters to train Wednesday, Bluegrass Cat, who eagerly went through his paces near the end of the early session. Neither Keyed Entry nor Sunriver went to the track.

Sinister Minister galloped an easy mile after the renovation break.

Seaside Retreat is the only Derby worker who was scheduled at Churchill Downs on Thursday. On Wednesday, he was very rank and hard to handle during a visually unimpressive gallop.


Deputy Glitters, the Tampa Bay Derby winner, continued preparation for the Kentucky Derby on Wednesday when he worked five furlongs in 1:01.46 over a fast Belmont main track.

Exercise rider Simon Harris was aboard for the work, which was the 11th fastest of 18 of the day. Belmont clockers caught the colt's first quarter in 25.86 seconds, meaning he got his last three furlongs in 35.60 seconds. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.04.

Harris never moved his hands on Deputy Glitters, whom he kept in the three path for the work.

Trainer Tom Albertrani said he was looking for 1:01, but was happy with the move nonetheless.

"If he had gone just a shade faster it would have been to the letter," Albertrani said. "But the way he finished up was what was important."

Deputy Glitters was scheduled to ship to Kentucky on Thursday, and will have one more work next week.

Hollywood Park

Sacred Light worked seven furlongs in 1:28, handily, at Hollywood Park on Wednesday, the only recorded work of the morning at the distance there. Sacred Light worked alone under jockey Aaron Gryder. On a fast track, Sacred Light worked his final quarter-mile in 23.80 seconds, with the final furlong in 11.80 seconds, according to trainer David Hofmans.

Hofmans said that Sacred Light has been "playful" in recent gallops, but that the colt was more focused during Wednesday's work.

"He was just cruising around," Hofmans said.

- additional reporting by David Grening and Steve Andersen