04/12/2008 12:00AM

Hey Byrn improves his Derby position

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Hey Byrn improved his chances of making the Kentucky Derby with a popular 2 1/4-length win over Dream Maestro in Saturday's $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

"We did what we needed to do," trainer Eddie Plesa said. "Now we sit still and see what happens."

Hey Byrn increased his graded earnings to $140,000 with his victory in the Grade 3 Holy Bull, which figures to put him near the cut-off point for the 20th and final spot in this year's Derby lineup.

"Everything is out of our control now," said Plesa who trains Hey Byrn for 86-year-old owner Beatrice Oxenberg. "If we don't make the Derby field, the only terrible blow is that Bea would like to go and run in her first Kentucky Derby. But this was a graded stakes race today and a very important win for him [Hey Byrn]."

Hey Byrn rallied from just off a slow pace set by Famous Patriot, gained a short advantage in early stretch, then withstood a strong try from Dream Maestro before edging away near the end. Dream Maestro was checked back to last in a roughly run opening quarter-mile of the 1 3/16-mile Holy Bull and made a strong middle move to join the leaders three wide into the stretch before finally succumbing to the winner in the final sixteenth of a mile. Famous Patriot faded gradually after showing the way into the stretch.

Hey Byrn covered the distance in 1:58.14 seconds and paid $4.