02/28/2007 1:00AM

Cobalt Blue eyes WinStar Derby


Cobalt Blue, impressive winner of an allowance sprint at Santa Anita on Feb. 14 in his first start since last summer, is possible for Sunland Park's marquee event, the $600,000 WinStar Derby on March 18. He is trained by Doug O'Neill.

Dennis O'Neill, the trainer's brother who picked out the horse for $325,000, said: "He's probably the most beautiful colt I ever bought, and we got him on the only bid we made. He's perfectly put together and very correct. He would have gone for a lot more, but he's by Golden Missile, who's not in vogue."

According to Dennis O'Neill, he warned owner Merv Griffin at the time of purchase "that he was a mile and a half horse and we're not going to win anything early."

"But we won first time out and then he kind of fell apart on us at Del Mar," said Dennis O'Neill, referring to Cobalt Blue's seventh in the Best Pal Stakes last Aug. 13. "But now Doug's got him going right and he's going to be a really, really important horse."

Cobalt Blue won easily, posting a strong 95 Beyer.

Doug O'Neill has been a force shipping in for the WinStar Derby, having won two of the four runnings with Excessivepleasure (2003) and Thor's Echo (2005).