05/01/2006 11:00PM

Kentucky Derby Clocker Report - Tuesday, May 2

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Lawyer Ron gallops a vigorous two miles under exercise rider Betsy Couch Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs.

Sunriver shines on a wet morning

RAINING/TEMP 58¦/TRACK SLOPPY

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Flashes of lightning illuminated the twin spires when Churchill Downs opened at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, with the accompanying downpour turning the racetrack into a sloppy quagmire well before midmorning, when the skies finally cleared. As a result, training was either limited or nonexistent for the 17 Kentucky Derby hopefuls stabled on the grounds, many of whom were given what figures to be their final day off before Saturday's big event.

If there were such a thing as a "gallop of the day" it would go to Sunriver, whose starting status remained tenuous at best 24 hours before Derby entries closed on Wednesday. Sunriver, Ashado's baby brother, had another good morning on Tuesday, looking relaxed and well within himself while gliding over the goop shortly after 7:30 a.m. under his regular exercise rider, Angel Cordero Jr. Love the way he's coming up to his next start, whether it's the Kentucky Derby, Peter Pan, or Sir Barton.

The wet track didn't alter Lawyer Ron's regular training schedule. The Arkansas Derby winner came out at his regular time, just before 8 a.m., and after jogging around to the finish line and standing for several minutes, he galloped a vigorous two miles. The one new wrinkle was a change in equipment, as Lawyer Ron appeared to be wearing an overcheck bit to help give exercise rider Betsy Couch a little extra control over the horse, who nearly ran off with her the previous morning. Despite the change, Lawyer Ron remained on the muscle again, galloping with his mouth open and head cocked to the inside for nearly the entire two miles.

The condition of the racetrack wasn't much better following the renovation break. As a result, trainer Michael Matz took the more conservative approach, electing to jog Barbaro two miles with a brief visit to the paddock along the way. Barbaro was bucking and playing and wanting to do more despite being kept in hand by exercise rider Peter Brette and Matz, who was aboard his stable pony.

Sweetnorthernsaint paid a visit to the starting gate before galloping a relaxed mile over the soggy going, passing Barbaro along the way. Seemed to handle the wet track well, perhaps a key factor with rain in the forecast for Saturday.

It was good to see Sharp Humor back on the track again after he took two days off following Saturday's fast workout. He did little more than jog a couple of miles the wrong way around the course.

ACTIVITY REPORT

A.P. Warrior: Arrived at Churchill Downs from California.

Barbaro: Jogged two miles, visited paddock at Churchilll Downs.

Bluegrass Cat: Jogged two miles at Churchill Downs.

Bob and John: Arrived at Churchill Downs from California.

Brother Derek: Walked the shed row.

Cause to Believe: Jogged one mile at Churchill Downs.

Deputy Glitters: Galloped 1 1/4 miles, visited the starting gate.

Flashy Bull: Walked the shed row.

Jazil: Walked the shed row.

Keyed Entry: Jogged two miles at Churchill Downs.

Lawyer Ron: Galloped two miles at Churchill Downs.

Point Determined: Arrived at Churchill Downs from California.

Private Vow: Walked the shed row.

Seaside Retreat: Walked the shed row.

Sharp Humor: Jogged two miles at Churchill Downs.

Showing Up: Walked the shed row at Belmont Park.

Sinister Minister: Galloped 1 3/8 miles at Churchill Downs.

Steppenwolfer: Galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs.

Storm Treasure: Walked the shed row.

Sunriver: Galloped 1 3/8 miles at Churchill Downs.

Sweetnorthernsaint: Galloped 1 1/4 miles, visited starting gate at Churchill Downs.

- Mike Welsch