09/19/2004 11:00PM

Mr. Jester joins Super Derby cast


Imperialism worked a bullet Saturday for the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby, and as of Monday the race's probable favorite had one more rival to beat with the commitment of a ninth starter, Mr. Jester.

The 1 1/8-mile Super Derby will be run Saturday at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

worked at his Santa Anita base, traveling seven furlongs in company in 1:24.40. He is scheduled to fly into Shreveport, La., on Wednesday for owner Steve Taub and trainer Kristin Mulhall. The race will be his first start since finishing fifth in the Preakness Stakes on May 15.

"He worked really, really well," said Taub. "Corey Black was on him, and Kristin was on another horse and it was a super work. He worked in hand. The work was all on his own. He's feeling really good."

Kent Desormeaux will ride Imperialism, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby.

In other workouts of note, Britt's Jules tore up the track Saturday at Louisiana Downs, when he went five furlongs in 57.80 seconds for trainer Eric Guillot. And on Monday at Churchill Downs, Fantasticat drilled five furlongs in a sharp 1:00.20 for trainer Bobby Barnett.

, based at Louisiana Downs, had been pointing for an overnight race, but when his allowance did not fill and he subsequently turned in a strong one-mile workout, his connections started to rethink the Super Derby. Lonnie Meche, who has dominated the standings at Louisiana Downs, has the mount on Mr. Jester.

The colt won his debut and the $50,000 Pioneer Stakes last year at Louisiana Downs, and on Sept. 11 worked one mile over the main track in a sharp 1:39.60.

"I thought it was an awfully good work," said Steve Wren, who trains Mr. Jester for Kaaren Biggs. "When the allowance race didn't go, we had to work him and were able to see just exactly where we were at. It seems like all systems go. He's eating good. He's training good. Why leave him in the barn?"

Mr. Jester won the $1 million Delta Jackpot and the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile at 2. In his last start, he returned from a layoff of nearly five months and finished a troubled sixth in the $60,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs.

Caballero Negro arrived from Calder on Saturday morning for the Super Derby. In his last start, he won the $40,000 Silver Season there, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 96. Others expected for the Super Derby are Borrego, Cryptograph, South Africa, and Xirius.