04/30/2007 12:00AM

Now Xchanger might run


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Tesio Stakes winner Xchanger, who had been announced as an unlikely Kentucky Derby participant by trainer Mark Shuman late last week, is now considered a probable starter, co-owner Domenico Zannino said Monday.

A final decision on Xchanger's Derby status is not expected until Tuesday, he said. Discussions are under way for the colt to be sold, either in full or in partnership, with Zannino saying the prospects of a sale are "80 percent." He would not identify the potential buyer.

Zannino, who races as Circle Z Stable, owns 50 percent of Xchanger, and Joe Masone and Shuman own 25 percent apiece.

Xchanger, who has been training at Fair Hill Training Center in northern Maryland since winning the Tesio at Pimlico April 21, would be vanned to Churchill Downs either Tuesday or Wednesday if his owners decide to run the colt in the Derby, Zannino said.

A rider for the Derby had not been chosen by Monday morning. "That's what we're working on right now," he said.

Churchill Downs stall manager Mike Hargrave and senior vice president of racing Donnie Richardson both said Monday morning they had not been contacted by Xchanger's connections regarding the horse's participation in the Derby.

If Xchanger does enter the Kentucky Derby on Wednesday, his presence could keep Teuflesberg out of what will likely be an oversubscribed race. With field size for the Derby capped at 20 horses, preference is given based on earnings in graded stakes. Of the probable entrants, Teuflesberg ranks 21st based on graded earnings. Imawildandcrazyguy is 22nd.

Jamie Sanders, Teuflesberg's trainer, said she isn't worried about her colt being excluded. "I'm pretty confident he'll get in," she said, noting that he needs only one defection before Wednesday to gain entry to the field.

She said she has not decided whether to enter him in Friday's Crown Royal American Turf at Churchill Downs as an alternative race in case Teuflesberg is excluded from the Derby. Entries for that race are taken Tuesday.

She said Monday that she might race Teuflesberg against older horses in Saturday's Grade 1 Woodford Reserve at Churchill if he does not get into the Derby. That race, like the Derby, is drawn Wednesday.