03/14/2010 11:00PM

Different routes available to Louisville

Will Kenser/Coady Photography
Lookin At Lucky (left) nips Noble's Promise in the Rebel. Lookin At Lucky will run next in either the Arkansas Derby, Wood Memorial, or Santa Anita Derby.

ARCADIA, Calif. - How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. How do you get to the May 1 Kentucky Derby? That depends. It is not a one-way street, as evidenced by the winners of the three graded Derby preps last Saturday. They could not be taking more dissimilar paths to Churchill Downs.

Lookin At Lucky, the champion 2-year-old colt of 2009, is headed back to California to train following his victory in the at Oaklawn Park in his 2010 debut. He may head out of town for his next start or remain here for the Santa Anita Derby on April 3, trainer Bob Baffert said Monday.

Sidney's Candy, who scored a front-running victory in the at Santa Anita in his two-turn debut, will be pointed to the Santa Anita Derby, trainer John Sadler said Monday.

Odysseus, who just did nose out Schoolyard Dreams in the , might not even have another prep. That would mean a seven-week layoff until the Kentucky Derby, longer than five weeks for Big Brown when he won the Derby in 2008, and the six weeks for Friesan Fire, who ran poorly as the Derby favorite one year ago.

Lookin At Lucky got a 97 Beyer Speed Figure, Sidney's Candy a 95, and Odysseus a 93 for their respective wins.

Lookin At Lucky's victory was the most impressive. It was his first start outside California, with blinkers, and on dirt, and he was not cranked up for his best by Baffert, who was using the race as a true prep. Yet despite that, and the trouble he encountered down the backstretch in the race, Lookin At Lucky prevailed after a determined stretch run.



"He passed all the tests," Baffert said after the race. "I trained him really light for this. I didn't train him very hard for it. I didn't want to do a lot with him. I didn't want him to run off the screen today. That was perfect."

Baffert said Lookin At Lucky could return to Oaklawn for the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 10, ship to Aqueduct for the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial on April 3, or stay home for the Santa Anita Derby, also April 3. It basically comes down to whether Baffert wants Lookin At Lucky to have four weeks off between the Rebel and his final Derby prep, and then three weeks to the Kentucky Derby, or three weeks between the Rebel and his final prep, and then four weeks to the Derby.

"He's going to come home Thursday," Baffert said. "So far, everything's good. The only options are here, the Wood, or the Arkansas Derby. I'll know more in a week after I see how he trains."

If Lookin At Lucky returns to Oaklawn, he will again face Noble's Promise and Dublin, who finished second and third in the Rebel. Both Noble's Promise and Dublin will be based at Oaklawn through the Arkansas Derby. Like Lookin At Lucky, Noble's Promise was making his first start of the year. He just missed.

"I think he ran the best race of his life," said his trainer, Kenny McPeek.

Sidney's Candy took advantage of a pedestrian pace to lead from start to finish in the San Felipe, the last major prep for the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. Sadler, in Ocala, Fla., on Monday for a 2-year-old sale, said the Santa Anita Derby was "the plan for now."

No next start has yet been determined for Interactif, who finished second in the San Felipe, but the Santa Anita Derby "hasn't been ruled out," trainer Todd Pletcher said Monday.

Caracortado, who finished third in the San Felipe with jockey Paul Atkinson while suffering the first loss of his career, will come back in the Santa Anita Derby.

"I thought he ran great." Mike Machowsky, who trains and co-owns Caracortado, said Monday, also from the Ocala sale. "They all sprinted home, and he was the only one who made up ground. He flew home. The other horse just walked the dog. At least Paul realized what was going on with the pace and tried to put some pressure on the leader. I'm not happy he got beat, but I'm happy with the way he ran."

American Lion, fourth in the San Felipe, will race on dirt in his next start.

"He was very rank, and when you do that on a synthetic surface, you've got no shot," said Eoin Harty, who trains American Lion. "A dirt surface might be an angle with his style of running. He's a horse who wants to get into it right off the bat."

Sadler's other top colt, Dave in Dixie, who beat just one horse in the San Felipe, will also head out of town for his next race.

"He cut himself a little behind," Sadler said. "He was fighting the track. Obviously the slow pace didn't help."

Odysseus "was a little fatigued on Sunday from the race and the trip, but he cleaned his feed tub and looked fine today," Tom Albertrani, who trains Odysseus, said Monday.

Odysseus had no graded stakes earnings heading into the Tampa Bay Derby. First place was worth $180,000, which likely will be enough to put him into the top 20, a scenario that likely would not have existed had the photo gone the other way.

If more than the maximum 20 horses enter the Derby, earnings in graded stakes races is the tie-breaker.

"We'll just let the dust settle a little bit, see how he trains over the next couple of weeks and what vibes we get before making a decision on whether to run him again or train him into the Derby," Albertrani said.

- additional reporting by Mary Rampellini and Mike Welsch