05/03/2005 11:00PM

Kentucky Derby clocker report for Wednesday

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Greeley's Galaxy, with Mikki Fincher up, failed to deliver Wednesday in his final Derby workout, a five-furlong drill in 1:01.79.

Weather: Sunny, Temp. 38
Track: Fast

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The final major day of Kentucky Derby preparations may have also been the coldest, with the temperature in the upper 30's when the track opened for business at 6 a.m. Barring the unexpected, Wednesday saw the last two Derby workouts, with High Limit and Greeley's Galaxy both in action following the renovation break.

Work of the day

Despite being out for little more than a maintenance move, High Limit (four furlongs in 48.77 seconds) again gave every indication he is primed for a big performance Saturday. Trainer Bobby Frankel said all he was looking for was a nice, even effort, and he got exactly what he ordered - High Limit went his opening quarter-mile in 24.39 and his final quarter in 24.38 before galloping out a strong five furlongs in 1:01.76 under exercise rider Jose Cuevas.

High Limit was under no urging at any point of his work, seemed to level out nicely once changing leads about 50 yards down the stretch, and continued willingly through his gallop out. The effort was the culmination of a very good week for High Limit, who appears to be coming into the Derby on top of his game. The key question is whether he will be able to get the 1 1/4 miles and do so without the early lead.

Greeley's Galaxy (five furlongs 1:01.79) - This colt has had several good mornings since his first local Derby prep did not go according to plan and had a chance to redeem himself in his second work. Unfortunately, after galloping strongly to the pole, Greeley's Galaxy did not quite deliver the effort I was looking for. He weakened noticeably through the stretch under some mild urging by exercise rider Mikki Fincher before shutting down even further during his gallop out. He went in fractions of 12.16, 24.98, and 37.06 for his opening three furlongs but came home a final quarter in 24.73 under some urging, then galloped out six furlongs in a relatively slow 1:16.11.

With the starting gate not opening until 7:15 a.m., trainers Todd Pletcher and Nick Zito had to alter their regular training schedules to get in a little schooling for Bandini, Flower Alley, Bellamy Road, Noble Causeway, and High Fly.

Pletcher brought both Bandini and Flower Alley out just before 7 a.m., an hour later than usual for Bandini, who walked Tuesday and as a result was really on his toes today, galloping a strong mile before heading to the gate for a routine schooling session along with his stablemate Flower Alley. Flower Alley, equipped in blinkers, also went along nicely both to and from the gate.

Bellamy Road, the first of Zito's four locally based Derby runners to hit the track, also altered his regular routine. Going out approximately 45 minutes later than usual, Bellamy Road gave exercise rider Carlos Correa all he could handle during a gallop that saw him buck and jump numerous times attempting to shake loose from Correa's firm hold.

High Fly and Noble Causeway were also full of energy both before and after their visits to the gate. Noble Causeway was especially explosive coming down the stretch once completing his schooling.

Sun King, the first of Zito's contenders on the track, may have been the toughest of them all for Correa, who really earned his pay this morning. After working last Thursday, Sun King looked a bit lethargic his first two days back to the track, but picked up the bit noticeably on Tuesday and was extremely aggressive. Correa had to stand straight up in the saddle to gain additional leverage before reaching back down to grab a little more hold to prevent Sun King from running off altogether.

Wilko had his first full gallop over the track after just jogging Tuesday. He looked a little stiff when first breaking off but did seem to stride out better the farther he went during a very routine 1 1/4-mile gallop.

Afleet Alex made only one appearance on the track following Tuesday's half-mile work, jogging twice around while also paying a brief visit to the paddock.