04/26/2005 11:00PM

Kentucky Derby clocker report for Wednesday

High Fly, under Maxine Correa, was among four Nick Zito horses to gallop Wednesday.

Weather: Cloudy Temp. 49
Track: Muddy

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky - Wednesday morning proved to be a relatively quiet one for Kentucky Derby hopefuls stabled at Churchill Downs with the most notable activity taking place, as it almost always does when a member of trainer D. Wayne Lukas' barn is involved, well before dawn.

The racetrack was muddy when the course opened at 6:00 a.m. and improved slightly as the morning progressed.

CONSOLIDATOR (five furlongs in 1:01.41) - Lukas traditionally prefers to work his Derby contenders under the cover of darkness and Wednesday proved no exception to that rule as Consolidator was among the first horses to enter the track. After backtracking to the top of the stretch, the speedy 3-year-old was full of run under exercise rider Stacy Maker as he made his way around the clubhouse turn. That momentum allowed him to break off from the five furlong pole in high gear and he completed his opening eighth in a relatively fast :11.88 seconds over the wet and somewhat sticky track. Consolidator settled down a bit around the turn, hitting the quarter and three-eighth splits in a more comfortable :24.28 and :36.22 before finishing willingly enough when put to mild urging through the final sixteenth of a mile. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.57.

Difficult to draw too many conclusions from this work especially considering the nature of the track condition at the time. Suffice to say it wasn't a move that should alter any pre-conceived opinions regarding Consolidator's chances in the race.

Like Lukas, trainers Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher also prefer to get their Derby contenders out early and this year that means nearly half the field with Zito planning to enter five starters and Pletcher three for the main event.

"Don't plan to sleep in this week if you want to see my Derby horses train," said Pletcher, a former Lukas assistant..

True to his word, Pletcher had BANDINI, FLOWER ALLEY and COIN SILVER out for routine gallops long before the end of the opening training session while Zito followed suit with his locally based foursome of BELLAMY ROAD, SUN KING, HIGH FLY and NOBLE CAUSEWAY.

Bellamy Road was the first of Zito's quartet to hit the track at 6:15 a.m. and he made a particularly strong first impression with a vigorous one and one quarter mile gallop under regular exercise rider Carlos Correa. Bellamy Road may be a bit short on experience but he certainly looks the part of a horse who is currently the leading candidate to win this year's Derby.

Only two horses came out on the track Wednesday wearing the traditional yellow saddle towel reserved for Derby starters and chances are neither will make it into the race. . The first was GREELEY'S GALAXY whose status remains in question since he's a supplemental nominee to the Derby . The second was DON'T GET MAD who must first past muster in Saturday's Derby Trial before he can even be considered a potential Derby candidate.