04/25/2002 11:00PM

Private Emblem looks best on a lazy morning

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Friday was like the lull before the storm as far as Kentucky Derby workouts were concerned. None of the 20 horses currently expected to start worked Friday. U. S. S. Tinosa, who still needs two defections to get into the race, breezed seven furlongs in 1:27 over his home base at Bay Meadows before boarding a plane that was scheduled to bring him to Churchill Downs on Saturday.

Despite the lack of any workers, Friday remained a busy morning for prospective Derby starters with the majority of the field out for morning gallops and jogs. The group included Saarland and Blue Burner, both of whom had their first chance to get a feel for the track after flying down from New York the previous day.

Temperatures were on the cool side for the second straight morning, struggling to get into the 50's as dawn broke before warming up a bit as training hours wore on. Once again the track was fast.

The usual suspects were out for pre-dawn gallops, including Sunday Break and Proud Citizen. It was Came Home, however, who drew most of the early attention.

Galloping for the first time since his outstanding five-furlong work on Tuesday, Came Home was full of vim and vigor with exercise rider Sal Gonzalez Jr. having his hands full trying to keep the compact colt from running off around the turn. Not the best of signs for a horse who needs to relax if he has any chance of stretching his speed 1 1/4 miles on Derby day.

Came Home's gallop was in sharp contrast to Saarland and Blue Burner, both of whom were seemingly unfazed by their new surroundings.

Saarland made a great appearance and wasted little time getting to work, breaking right off under exercise rider Adolph Krajewski and galloping once around the mile oval in a nice, relaxed fashion. Blue Burner, with Judy Nicks aboard and accompanied by trainer Bill Mott aboard his stable pony, made a quick visit to the paddock before also galloping an easy 1 3/8 miles.

Perhaps the most impressive looking of Friday's gallopers was Private Emblem, who also walked through the paddock before galloping a strong 1 1/2 miles looking like a million bucks with his neck bowed every step of the way.

Private Emblem's stablemate, Windward Passage, came out in the next set and displayed a bit more choppy action during his 1 1/2-mile gallop.

Activity was nearly as quiet on the Oaks front with Friday's only work turned in by Take Charge Lady, who went five furlongs in 59.60 seconds. Among the likely Oaks favorites along with Bella Bellucci and You, Take Charge Lady appeared a bit anxious coming away from the pole under jockey Tony D'Amico, ripping off her first three furlongs in a brisk 34.80 seconds. As expected, that pace took its toll through the stretch as she went the final quarter-mile in 25 seconds before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.20.