04/12/2006 12:00AM

Lawyer Ron draws post 5 in Ark. Derby field of 14


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Lawyer Ron is attempting to go into the Kentucky Derby unbeaten on dirt, and post position should not be an obstacle for him Saturday in the Grade 2, $1 million after he drew gate 5 in a field of 14.

Entries for the 1 1/8-mile race were drawn Wednesday.

Lawyer Ron was installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite because of a record that includes five wins on dirt in his last five starts, among them the Grade 3, $300,000 Rebel at Oaklawn and the Grade 3, $250,000 Risen Star at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs.

"I think he did as well as he could do on the post," said Bob Holthus, who trains Lawyer Ron. "I'm just hoping a couple of horses will go out there and we can sit in behind them."

John McKee has the mount on Lawyer Ron, who is one of two starters for Holthus in the Arkansas Derby, the richest race of the meet at Oaklawn Park. The other is Red Raymond, who drew post 9 and will start under Luis Quinonez.

Steppenwolfer, a closer who finished third to Lawyer Ron and Red Raymond last out in the Rebel, drew post 2.

"I wanted to be inside," said trainer Dan Peitz.

The complete field from the rail with riders is New Joysey Jeff, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Steppenwolfer, Robby Albarado; High Cotton, Chris DeCarlo; With a City, Brice Blanc; Lawyer Ron; Well Said, James Graham; Jealous Profit, Aaron Gryder; Private Vow, Shaun Bridgmohan; Red Raymond; Simon Pure, Jon Court; Nob Hill Deelite, Corey Lanerie; Superfly, Willie Martinez; Film Fortune, Terry Thompson; and Sayhellotolarry, Calvin Borel.

There will be a maximum of 12 wagering interests on the race, so three horses have been placed in a mutuel field: New Joysey Jeff, who adds blinkers, and Nob Hill Deelite and Film Fortune.

The Arkansas Derby and one of its supporting stakes, the $100,000 Instant Racing Breeders' Cup, will be part of a national pick four on Saturday with the Blue Grass and Commonwealth Breeders' Cup from Keeneland.

Post for the Arkansas Derby is 4:47 p.m. Central, and the race is scheduled to be televised live on ABC.

The field for this year's 70th running is the largest since 14 started in 2000, when Graeme Hall won.

The local forecast for Saturday calls for partly cloudy skies and a high of 86. Officials look for the ontrack crowd to approach 70,000.