05/03/2006 11:00PM

Kentucky Derby Clocker Report - Thursday, May 4

Brother Derek, galloping at Churchill Downs on Thursday with Francisco Alvarado up, has a big job ahead of him breaking from post 18.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Thursday provided one last opportunity to see the Derby contenders before making out the final clocker's report with the focus of attention on Sweetnorthernsaint and Point Determined, both of whom did not have the smoothest of gallops the previous morning.

Sweetnorthernsaint appeared to go a little better Thursday although was still not striding out with the same extension observed prior to Saturday's work. He and Point Determined both failed to switch leads through the stretch and around the clubhouse turn during their routine gallops.

Both Brother Derek and Barbaro had another good morning. Barbaro tossing in a series of :14 and change and even one :13 and change eighth mile splits from the three-eighths pole around to the seven furlong marker just for good measure. Bob and John was very impressive for the second consecutive morning since his arrival from California. Has displayed a high energy level and an eye pleasing way of going. A.P. Warrior really picked up the pace and was much more focused the second time around during a sharp two mile gallop. Lawyer Ron was uncharacteristically mellow once again, a distinct change from the rambunctious style that had made him the most difficult of the Derby contenders to gallop the previous week. Bluegrass Cat was also much more relaxed than the previous morning. Jazil continues to look good.

The following are impressions of this year's Derby field gleaned from observations made over the past nine days with Showing Up the only member of the lineup who did not train at Churchill Downs during that time period.

A.P. Warrior- Was not completely focused on Wednesday and again starting out Thursday morning but got his mind back on business the second time around and looked very sharp. Appears to be coming up to the race in top shape. A major player.

Barbaro- Nobody has trained any better here this past week. Turned in one of the best pre-Derby works seen here in years, finishing so well it was hard to tell when the work ended and the gallop out began. A picture of health. May be his race to lose.

Bluegrass Cat- One of the more enigmatic members of the field. Comes in off a couple of disappointing performances and yet to run back to his top 2-year-old form. Few if any have looked any better galloping over this track although his last work could have been sharper. Still believe he's worth a look at a square price.

Bob and John- Have really liked what we've seen of him in his two gallops since arriving from the west coast on Tuesday and a tape of his final work in California over the weekend. Should be sitting on another big effort.

Brother Derek- The likely Derby favorite has done little wrong since coming to Kentucky last week. Hard to draw any conclusions from his easy work over a wet track on Monday when hoping to see him do a bit more following a less than Brother Derek-like workout the previous week in California. Running style does not fit the profile of the race and poorly drawn in post 18. A great story if he wins but hard to take on top at a short price.

Cause to Believe- Difficult to erase the memory of Saturday's poor work in which he ran erratically and tired so badly at the end he did not even receive a gallop out time.

Deputy Glitters- Has had a good week and a much improved colt since stretching out around two turns. Finished well in his one local work but would be at a disadvantage over a wet track.

Flashy Bull- Has trained extremely well over this track but did have trouble keeping up with stablemate Jazil when the pair worked in company last weekend.

Jazil- Has made a very favorable impression during his daily gallops and he finished and galloped out better than Flashy Bull in their final prep. Has the running style to pick up the pieces should the race collapse down the lane ala 2005 and likely stirring memories of 70-1 Closing Argument's near miss under the McLaughlin shed.

Keyed Entry- A swift and talented colt who has been a handful during morning gallops and in his final work when he was extremely rank during the early stages. Looks destined to become part of a very rapid pace especially after drawing disadvantageous inside post.

Lawyer Ron- Dynamic little colt has been one of the stars during training hours all week. Had been a real handful to gallop in the morning, coming just short of running off on Monday, but a switch in equipment has helped tone down his enthusiasm over the last two days. Still must prove capable of also harnessing that nervous energy during his race. Cannot afford to be rank and run up into the early pace as he did in the Arkansas Derby.

Point Determined- Another giving mixed signals. Appeared to struggle albeit against stakes winning stablemate Da Stoops during April 24 work at Santa Anita, rebounded nicely with an extremely sharp drill one week later but has been on the sluggish side during his first two gallops since flying in from the west coast on Tuesday. Still considering him a top contender if at his best.

Private Vow- Has done little wrong this week and obviously likes his home track. Worked well in the slop on Monday but still can't get away from the fact he's had only two starts under his belt at 3.

Seaside Retreat- Doesn't belong in this field on paper but hard to knock his one local work and he's continued to train well ever since.

Sharp Humor- Was a handful in the mornings leading up to Saturday's work which not surprisingly was extremely fast but ended with him drifting nearing the wire and during the gallop out. Training routine has bee toned down ever since and he seems to be a lot more relaxed in recent days although another who will be hard pressed to avoid a hot, early pace.

Showing Up- Did not arrive until Friday. Has a lot of history to overcome entering the Derby with only three races on the resume'.

Sinister Minister- Has been given a relatively easy week on the heels of huge Blue Grass win and connections making little secret of this one's strategy on Saturday. Expecting him to bounce off his last but would be dangerous if somehow allowed to relax in front ala War Emblem in 2002.

Steppenwolfer- Not the prettiest mover in the morning but did finish well in his final derby work and running style certainly fits the profile of the race.

Storm Treasure- One of the real lookers in the field who has had a very good week over a track he's won on in the past. Capable of outrunning his odds especially if the race collapses down the stretch.

Sweetnorthernsaint- Originally had him penciled in as a first or second selection, liked but didn't love his one local work but lost a little confidence after a couple of rough looking gallops on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Thinking he might be a bit over the top coming off that fast Illinois Derby win but still a major if he can duplicate his previous performance.


A.P. Warrior: Galloped two miles.

Barbaro: Galloped 1 1/2 miles, visited starting gate.

Bluegrass Cat: Galloped 1 1/4 miles.

Bon and John: Galloped 1 5/8 miles.

Brother Derek: Galloped 1 7/8 miles, visited starting gate.

Cause to Believe: Jogged one mile, schooled in the paddock.

Deputy Glitters: Walked the shed row.

Flashy Bull: Galloped 1 3/8 miles.

Jazil: Galloped 1 3/8 miles.

Keyed Entry:Galloped 1 1/4 miles.

Lawyer Ron: Galloped two miles.

Point Determined: Galloped 1 3/8 miles.

Private Vow: Galloped 1 1/4 miles, visited starting gate.

Seaside Retreat: Galloped 1 1/2 miles.

Sharp Humor:Galloped 1 1/2 miles.

Showing Up: Galloped 1 3/8 miles at Belmont Park, flew to Churchill Downs.

Sinister Minister: Galloped 1 3/8 miles.

Steppenwolfer: Galloped 1 5/8 miles.

Storm Treasure: Galloped 1 1/4 miles, visited starting gate.

Sweetnorthernsaint:Galloped 1 1/4 miles.

- Mike Welsch