09/30/2010 2:31PM

Indiana Derby a Classic prep for Lookin At Lucky

Hoosier Park
Lookin At Lucky will try to use the Indiana Derby as a stepping-stone to the BC Classic.

ANDERSON, Ind. – Bob Baffert declined to quantify Lookin At Lucky’s readiness. It probably doesn’t matter. The colt seems good enough – even at less than 100 percent – to prevail in an otherwise nondescript field Saturday in the Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park. And the race is an obvious means to an end, a bridge to get Lookin At Lucky past his post-Haskell setback and to the Breeders’ Cup Classic in top shape.

“This is a good prep for the Classic,” Baffert said earlier this week from California. “He’s ready to run, I’ll say that. He’s trained well here. He should be able to win this race.”

Lookin At Lucky briefly fell ill following his Aug. 1 Haskell win, leading Baffert to take it easy with him for nearly a month. The first of Lookin At Lucky’s four workouts approaching the Indiana Derby was Sept. 8.

The natural dirt track at Hoosier is a seven-furlong oval with turns that might be fairly described as hairpin. Baffert took the bullring-like configuration into consideration when he settled on the Indiana Derby as the final pre-Classic prep for Lookin At Lucky. He said he is simply hoping the race will help bring Lookin At Lucky to peak fitness for what will be a far more demanding task Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.

“It’s a smaller track there at Hoosier, but he’s a really handy horse,” Baffert said. “He’s got great acceleration, and he should handle those turns very well.”

Baffert will be at Hoosier for the race, along with the three men who co-own Lookin At Lucky – Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman.

Lookin At Lucky will be flown back to California on Monday, then resume training toward the Classic at Hollywood Park.

“We won’t bring him to Churchill until the week of the Breeders’ Cup,” Baffert said. “We’ll run him right off the plane.”

Uareoutlaw will show what he’s made of

The unknown factor in the Indiana Derby is Uareoutlaw, the reigning Brazilian 2-year-old champion and a Group 1 winner in his native land in his last start in late June. Louisville attorney Tom Conway privately purchased the colt before a runner-up finish in May.

“He’s kind of a laid back horse, does everything we ask of him,” said trainer Mike Maker, who will saddle the colt for his North American debut. “I’ve watched some of his races from Brazil, and although he closed in them, I think he’ll probably show more speed for us. I think he’ll be in a stalking position Saturday.”

Maker laughed when asked about taking on the likes of Lookin At Lucky right away.

“We’re starting at the top,” he said, “and we’ll work our way down if we have to.”

No Indiana Derby mount for Albarado

Robby Albarado, recently back from a collarbone and hand injury suffered in a Saratoga spill, will be here to ride Saturday, but he won’t have a chance to extend his record for most wins in Indiana Derby history. Albarado has the mount on Seeking the Title in the supporting feature, the Indiana Oaks, but doesn’t have a ride in the main event.

Albarado won the Indiana Derby in 1998 with One Bold Stroke, in 2001 on Orientate, and in 2007 with Zanjero.

◗ Dean Kutz, the popular Midwest jockey who died in 2004 at age 48, will be remembered Saturday with a day-long fund-raising effort through T-shirt and memorabilia sales, along with silent and live actions. Proceeds benefit the United Way and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Kutz won the first Indiana Derby in 1995 aboard Peruvian.

◗ Hoosier is looking to boost attendance Saturday by rewarding members of its frequent player program, Club Centaur, with $10 in slots money.