05/01/2003 11:00PM

Derby runner profile: Offlee Wild

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STRENGTHS: His sire typically gets strong, gritty, and durable horses who are competitive at distances of six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles. His broodmare sire became racing's only undefeated Triple Crown winner. Aside from that, Offlee Wild has shown he can carry his speed around two turns and has the kind of near-the-pace running style that should get him a spot up near the front and out of traffic problems. He also proved he can handle the Churchill track: He earned his diploma over it last fall and followed it up with a second-place finish. His solid third behind Peace Rules and Brancusi in the Blue Grass was good in that it didn't tax him too much before his attempt to become the first horse since Unbridled in 1990 to vault from a third-place finish in the Blue Grass to a Kentucky Derby win. Since 1980 the Blue Grass has produced Derby winners Gato del Sol, Alysheba, Unbri-dled, Strike the Gold, Sea Hero and Thunder Gulch.

WEAKNESSES: A soft point in Offlee Wild's armor is that he has raced 1 1/8 miles only once, and old-timers swear two such races are needed before the Derby. Also, his Beyer Speed Figures are a tad lower than the top contenders, and he has yet to race over a wet surface (although the forecast is for decent weather by the weekend).

STRATEGY: The plan of attack should be to get position behind the front-runners, which should allow him to avoid traffic problems. Rider Robby Albarado and trainer T.V. Smith both are looking for Derby win No. 1, but both are veterans of many Churchill Downs race meetings.

BETTING VALUE: He won't get much respect off his Blue Grass race, so his fans will get 20-1 or better at the windows. Honest and worth a play, especially at the bottom of exotics.

PEDIGREE PROFILE

SIRE LINE: Wild Again matured late and did not win a stakes until age 4, when he won four stakes, including the 1984 Breeders' Cup Classic. Wild Again sired Sarava, last year's surprise winner of the Belmont Stakes. Wild Again is by a stakes winner, Icecapade, himself a half-brother to Ruffian by Northern Dancer's sire, Nearctic.

FEMALE FAMILY: Alvear is a half-sister to Dynaformer, and this powerful Darby Dan female line is rife with quality and class. The second dam, Andover Way, was a multiple stakes winner and a half-sister to stakes winner Darby Creek Road. Among those who come from this family are the 2001 Derby winner, Monarchos; a European champion, Ryafan; a leading Japanese stallion, Brian's Time; and Memories of Silver.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: Runners by Wild Again have speed but are able to get classic distances if they are out of mares by stamina influences. Offlee Wild is out of a mare by Seattle Slew, and his second dam is by the extraordinary broodmare sire His Majesty (a full brother to Graustark). Offlee Wild will be a major threat at the Derby distance at attractive odds.

- Pedigree profile by Lauren StichSTRENGTHS: His sire typically gets strong, gritty, and durable horses who are competitive at distances of six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles. His broodmare sire became racing's only undefeated Triple Crown winner. Aside from that, Offlee Wild has shown he can carry his speed around two turns and has the kind of near-the-pace running style that should get him a spot up near the front and out of traffic problems. He also proved he can handle the Churchill track: He earned his diploma over it last fall and followed it up with a second-place finish. His solid third behind Peace Rules and Brancusi in the Blue Grass was good in that it didn't tax him too much before his attempt to become the first horse since Unbridled in 1990 to vault from a third-place finish in the Blue Grass to a Kentucky Derby win. Since 1980 the Blue Grass has produced Derby winners Gato del Sol, Alysheba, Unbri-dled, Strike the Gold, Sea Hero and Thunder Gulch.

WEAKNESSES: A soft point in Offlee Wild's armor is that he has raced 1 1/8 miles only once, and old-timers swear two such races are needed before the Derby. Also, his Beyer Speed Figures are a tad lower than the top contenders, and he has yet to race over a wet surface (although the forecast is for decent weather by the weekend).

STRATEGY: The plan of attack should be to get position behind the front-runners, which should allow him to avoid traffic problems. Rider Robby Albarado and trainer T.V. Smith both are looking for Derby win No. 1, but both are veterans of many Churchill Downs race meetings.

BETTING VALUE: He won't get much respect off his Blue Grass race, so his fans will get 20-1 or better at the windows. Honest and worth a play, especially at the bottom of exotics.

PEDIGREE PROFILE

SIRE LINE: Wild Again matured late and did not win a stakes until age 4, when he won four stakes, including the 1984 Breeders' Cup Classic. Wild Again sired Sarava, last year's surprise winner of the Belmont Stakes. Wild Again is by a stakes winner, Icecapade, himself a half-brother to Ruffian by Northern Dancer's sire, Nearctic.

FEMALE FAMILY: Alvear is a half-sister to Dynaformer, and this powerful Darby Dan female line is rife with quality and class. The second dam, Andover Way, was a multiple stakes winner and a half-sister to stakes winner Darby Creek Road. Among those who come from this family are the 2001 Derby winner, Monarchos; a European champion, Ryafan; a leading Japanese stallion, Brian's Time; and Memories of Silver.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: Runners by Wild Again have speed but are able to get classic distances if they are out of mares by stamina influences. Offlee Wild is out of a mare by Seattle Slew, and his second dam is by the extraordinary broodmare sire His Majesty (a full brother to Graustark). Offlee Wild will be a major threat at the Derby distance at attractive odds.

- Pedigree profile by Lauren Stich