05/08/2007 12:00AM

Derby big 3 overshadow new shooters


NEW YORK - Now all eyes are on the Preakness. After scintillating performances by Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense (sired by Street Cry) and runner-up Hard Spun (Danzig), who will hook up in a rematch at Baltimore, it is still unclear exactly who else will join the party at Pimlico. Derby participants are expected to include third-place finisher Curlin, surprising fifth-place finisher Sedgefield, and 17th-place finisher Teuflesberg.

Street Sense, Hard Spun, and Curlin are the big three who appear to be light years ahead of the possible challengers for the Preakness. Alphabetically, the new shooters might well include:

C P West: Generally regarded as the best 3-year-old in Nick Zito's barn, C P West showed talent from the start last year at 2, finishing second in the Futurity Stakes in his second lifetime start after winning a maiden race. Off to a late start this year, he missed too much time and lacked both the graded earnings and the foundation to compete in the Kentucky Derby. He was recently second in the one-mile Withers Stakes at Belmont, which may have served him as a strong prep for the Preakness. He is by the young stallion Came Home (by Gone West), a top 2-year-old who was bred to be a miler but was able to stretch out and win the Santa Anita Derby, Swaps Stakes, and Pacific Classic - the latter at 1 1/4 miles against older runners at 3.

C P West gets an abundance of stamina from his damsire, Dynaformer, and second damsire, Hawaii. Hawaii was a champion in his native South Africa and became a champion grass runner in this country. The most noteworthy aspect of C P West's pedigree is that his fifth dam, Aunt Tilt, is a half-sister to 1967 Horse of the Year and 3-year-old champion Damascus. The Preakness distance should be no problem at all.

Chelokee: His sire is Cherokee Run, a champion sprinter who gamely finished second to Prairie Bayou in the 1993 Preakness. A source of speed in a pedigree, Cherokee Run has sired many good runners who have successfully negotiated middle distances, such as During, Kafwain, and Sir Cherokee. But the majority are sprinter-milers, such as 2-year-old filly champion Chilukki and sprint specialist Yonaguska.

Cherokee Run is also the sire of Kentucky Derby also-ran Zanjero. In addition to his sire, Chelokee gets speed from his damsire, Silver Ghost. He could win a minor award at Pimlico.

Flying First Class: Following some disappointing races after a dazzling win early this year, Flying First Class returned to form in winning the Derby Trial, and while he is questionable to be as effective at the Preakness' 1 3/16-mile trip, he could have a major impact in the race as a strong pace factor.

Like Street Sense and the Derby's fourth-place finisher, Imawildandcrazyguy, Flying First Class has the Rasmussen Factor, as he is inbred 5x5 to the outstanding broodmare Somethingroyal through her sons Secretariat (Bold Ruler) and Somethingfabulous (Northern Dancer).

King of the Roxy: Winner of last year's Futurity over the inexperienced C P West, his late rally propelled him to victory in the Hutcheson Stakes, and he was noticeably shortening stride when finishing a game second in the Santa Anita Derby. The Preakness distance seems too far for this son of Littleexpectations, a full brother to successful speed influence Valid Expectations. In addition, he gets little help from his damsire, Bold Forbes. Although Bold Forbes won the Kentucky Derby and gutted out a remarkable victory in the Belmont Stakes, the name Bold Forbes in a pedigree means speed, not stamina.

Starbase: By speed influence Tale of the Cat, Starbase was second in the Lexington Stakes. He is out of the Iam the Iceman mare Starship Lillian, a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Crafty C.T. This productive female family produced stakes winners Come Hither Look and Indian Sunlite. Starbase is not especially bred to be at his best going long.

Xchanger: His sire, Exchange Rate, was a well-bred son of Danzig who did not attract the highest quality mares at stud. Despite the lack of opportunity, Exchange Rate has done quite well, and his runners win on all surfaces (especially wet tracks and grass). Winner of the Sapling Stakes at 2, he was a front-running winner of the Federico Tesio Stakes over the Pimlico surface in his last start. Out of a mare by speed influence Crafty Prospector, he is another colt that is questionable at the distance but could be part of a pace scenario with Hard Spun, Flying First Class, and Teuflesberg.