04/06/2010 11:00PM

Make Music for Me takes shot at Derby

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Andy Durnin got his proverbial 15 minutes of fame as the exercise rider of Fusaichi Pegasus, the strong-willed colt who became the first favorite to win the Kentucky Derby in 21 years when he prevailed for trainer Neil Drysdale in 2000.

Ten years later, Durnin is back on the Derby trail, albeit with a colt with far less pre-race notoriety than FuPeg. He has accompanied Make Music for Me to Keeneland for trainer Alexis Barba in the days leading to the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes, which the colt will try to use as a springboard Saturday to make the 136th Derby on May 1 at Churchill Downs.

Make Music for Me, the lone California invader in a field of nine entered in the 86th Blue Grass, had been a maiden in six starts before rallying to win his last race, the March 6 Pasadena Stakes on the Santa Anita turf. He is the 6-1 fifth choice on the morning line for the Blue Grass, the ninth of 10 Saturday races.

"He traveled great here from California," Durnin said. "This morning, I took him to the track for the first time, and he acted like he owned the place."

Mike Smith has a return call on Make Music for Me. Smith won the Blue Grass in his first two tries, with Prairie Bayou (1993) and Holy Bull (1994), and has two more runner-up finishes from just three subsequent tries.

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