03/28/2006 12:00AM

McIngvale, Miller go separate ways

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Jim McIngvale insists sprinter Fast Parade run in the Santa Anita Derby.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Owner Jim McIngvale will start speedball sprinter Fast Parade in the Santa Anita Derby on April 8. If you don't like it, take a hike.

That is exactly what trainer Peter Miller did Tuesday, severing ties with the eccentric owner after McIngvale directed him to run Fast Parade in the Santa Anita Derby.

It is not the first time McIngvale and a trainer have parted ways, although the latest split carries Grade 1 repercussions and may ultimately affect the chances of Derby favorite Brother Derek, who also is a front-runner.

Fast Parade is a front-runner who has won 3 of 5 starts, all sprints, and Miller preferred running him Saturday in the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park. McIngvale, calling Tuesday from Texas, said he wanted to support California racing by running Fast Parade in the Santa Anita Derby.

"I'm very strong-headed, I'll be the first to admit it," said McIngvale, 55. "But I'm too old to hire these horse trainers to be my boss. It's that simple."

McIngvale owns the Gallery Furniture chain in Texas, and has had many trainers, including Nick Zito, Bob Baffert, Steve Asmussen, Tom Roberts, and Nick Hines.

The eight McIngvale horses that Miller trained at San Luis Rey Downs were transferred out of his care Tuesday, Miller said.

"Ultimately, I'm responsible for the care and well-being of the horses, and I did not feel comfortable with the situation," Miller said. "I don't feel you can train horses from 2,000 miles away, from the back of a furniture store."

Virginia Padgett, a newcomer to California, is Fast Parade's new trainer. Padgett, 43, has been in California since mid-March, and was hired by McIngvale to develop 22 San Luis Rey-based 2-year-olds. Her stable grew Tuesday when Fast Parade, along with stakes-class Brand Name and Attack Alert, were transferred to her care.

She said she has been training since 1986, and spent the last 14 years in Kentucky after starting in Maryland. Padgett said she would obtain her California trainer's license Wednesday, and spend the next week familiarizing her self with the likely Santa Anita Derby pacesetter.

Fast Parade won the Baldwin Stakes in virtually gate-to-wire fashion on March 4 while racing for the first time in five months. The original plan was to go Saturday in the WinStar Derby at Sunland Park, but McIngvale wanted to go for the Grade 1. It's an ambitious spot for a gelding who has never run long.

"My life is ambitious," McIngvale countered. "If they knock me down, I'll get back up and fight. We'll make sure Fast Parade is healthy and happy, and we'll shake, rattle and roll."

Padgett will keep it simple the next week and a half with Fast Parade, who worked a mile on March 24 in 1:39.40. Padgett said "the main thing is to get some extended gallops in him, get him to relax the first part, and pick up it the second part and make sure he has the wind. We're not looking for any speed works."

McIngvale started two horses last year in the Santa Anita Derby. Trained by Nick Hines, Allright and Customer finished last and next-to-last.

Bob and John headed to New York

Fast Parade was ridden by Garrett Gomez in the Baldwin, but he will need a new rider for the Santa Anita Derby because Gomez is booked to ride Bob and John on April 8 in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

Trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday that plans changed and Bob and John, originally being pointed to the Santa Anita Derby, will ship out.

"If I had a super-speed horse, I'd stay here," Baffert said, expressing concern that Bother Derek would have a tactical advantage over Bob and John in the Santa Anita Derby.

Gomez worked Bob and John a half-mile on Monday in 47.80 seconds.

Baffert now intends to run Point Determined, runner-up in the San Felipe, in the Santa Anita Derby.

Brother Derek feeling good

Brother Derek returned to the track Tuesday morning at 8:20, two days after a sizzling six-furlong workout in 1:11, breezing. The main track was sealed because of rain, and closed for workouts, but open for wrong-way (clockwise) joggers. Trainer Dan Hendricks planned for Brother Derek to jog once around under Francisco Alvarado, but Brother Derek was feeling too good to call it quits after one lap.

As an energetic Brother Derek jogged past Hendricks on the outer rail at the eighth pole, Alvarado called out to Hendricks: "Two?" meaning two laps. Hendricks shouted back "What do you think?" Alvarado replied with a firm "Yes!"

On the second lap, Hendricks shouted to Alvarado "Good?" Alvarado replied with a firm "Yes."

* Trainer Paula Capestro said Tuesday that Borderland Derby winner Indy Wildcat would skip the WinStar Derby and run in the Santa Anita Derby under Tyler Baze. Six are aiming for the Santa Anita Derby. In order of probable odds, with riders, the field will include Brother Derek (Alex Solis); A. P. Warrior (Corey Nakatani); Point Determined (Espinoza); Sacred Light (Aaron Gryder); Fast Parade (no rider); and Indy Wildcat (Baze).