04/28/2002 11:00PM

Proud Citizen leads large worktab

Email

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After several mornings of relative inactivity, with the majority of the Kentucky Derby contenders stabled on the grounds doing little more than gallop and visit the paddock since the middle of last week, Monday was full of action. Ten Derby hopefuls worked, and four of those works coming within a wild three-minute span following the renovation break.

The temperature had plunged into the upper 40's by the time the racetrack opened shortly after 5:30 a.m., but despite the cool temperature, things heated up immediately, with Proud Citizen and Sunday Break wasting no time getting the busy day off to a flying start, working almost simultaneously under the cover of darkness.

Work of the day

Proud Citizen (five furlongs in 58.60 seconds): Has galloped like a gorilla since returning to training following his victory in the Lexington Stakes and worked just as impressively. With Stacy Maker aboard, Proud Citizen tossed his head a few times approaching the pole, indicating his eagerness to begin but settled in nicely once in stride. Reeled off fractions of 11.60 seconds, 23, 34.60 and :46.60 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.40 with Maker offering little encouragement from the outset. Wanted to see if he could carry his sharp gallops over to his one and only pre-Derby work and got all of that and more.

Sunday Break (six furlongs in 1:14.40 according to track clockers) This one may be a moot point since he's unlikely to break into the Derby lineup which is a shame considering how well he has trained here this week. Breaking off outside and just behind a stablemate, Sunday Break was under stout restraint from exercise rider Marcelino Olguin through an opening half in :50 then quickened his pace and edged away from his company with Olguin remaining bent in half down the stretch. Look for him to come up big in Baltimore if he handles the Pimlico surface with equal aplomb.

Saarland (five furlongs in 1:02): Probably the most anticipated work of the morning with railbirds anxious to not only see but hear if his recent myectomy to relieve breathing problems has had a positive effect. Broke off slow (opening furlong in :12.80) and was not asked for speed at any time by regular exercise rider Adolf (Juice) Krajewski who quietly put Saarland through little more than a maintenance work with the emphasis on the word quiet. Would liked to have seen a little more zip but hard to criticize the colt for doing exactly what was asked of him by trainer Shug McGaughey.

Windward Passage (four furlongs in :48.80): The first and least impressive of trainer Steve Asmussen's two Derby hopefuls to work. With jockey Donnie Meche up, Windward Passage went along at an even pace before getting a little sloppy with his stride through the latter stages and changing back to his left lead prematurely approaching the wire. Was not overly aggressive in the gallop out completing an extra furlong in :13.80.

Private Emblem (four furlongs in :48.80): The final time was the same as Windward Passage but the work was accomplished in a different and much more encouraging manner. With Meche also up, Private Emblem completed his opening quarter and three furlongs a couple of ticks slower than his mate (:24.40 and :37) then finished up extremely well covering the final furlong in :11.80 under a firm hold. Proceeded to gallop out very strong, pulling up five eighths in 1:02. Like Proud Citizen, Private Emblem has made a most favorable impression in his morning gallops and displayed similar eagerness during his work. Appears to be coming up to the Derby in top form.

Medaglia d'Oro (five furlongs in 1:01.20): Was the first horse on the track after the renovation break and the first to work. Was officially credited with six furlongs in 1:13.80 by track clockers although Daily Racing Form timed him for five furlongs following a very leisurely opening eighth (12:60) after which he picked up the pace appreciably despite staying wide into the far turn. Was never under any pressure from exercise rider Marco Remirez who sat high in the irons and remained quiet until the gallop out when asking the long striding colt to run on just a bit. Another who has looked and trained extremely well this past week.

Lusty Latin (five furlongs in 1:00.80) Broke off just behind Medaglia D'Oro and came equipped for business breezing in blinkers and a shadow roll. Began slower than Medgalia as befitting his running style (:12.40 and :24.40) then finished up strong with jockey Glen Corbett shaking the left rein to help quicken the pace at the eighth pole.

Came Home (five furlongs in 1:00.80): Continues to show his quickness of foot in the morning but has done so without the need of any urging from jockey Chris McCarron. Came away a little anxiously, posting splits of :11.40, :23.80 and :35.40, but finished up well enough getting his final quarter in :25.40 before galloping out in 1:13.80.

Easy Grades (five furlongs in 1:01.80 according to track clockers): Began as Came Home was finishing up and as a result his early splits got lost in the shuffle. Was obviously asked for more speed than in his previous work as jockey Jorge Chavez urged him along with a shake of his hands near midstretch. Despite that fact he has not been one of our favorites this week.

Blue Burner (five furlongs in :59): Trainer Bill Mott left little doubt he was looking for something fast out of this work when giving Blue Burner company (stablemate Boastful) and putting the blinkers on. Broke off a couple of lengths behind his mate under Judy Nicks, drew even at the three eighths pole while tapped lightly with the whip a couple of times around the turn then drew away in the final furlong following a couple of crisper strikes of the stick near midstretch. Remained under urging through his gallop out completing six furlongs in 1:12.60.

The two most notable gallops of the morning were turned in by Harlan's Holiday, who went another strong one mile and five eighths immediately after the renovation break, and Mayakovsky who was rank and briefly attempted to run off with his rider coming past the finish line.

The lone Oaks contender to breeze was Take The Cake who worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:15.20.

SUNDAY, APR. 28

Torrential overnight rains and the threat of tornados left the status of Sunday's three scheduled Derby works in doubt although two of those, It'sallinthechase and Wild Horses, went off without a hitch over a track which dryed out extremely well during the course of the morning.

Wild Horses (five furlongs in 1:01.20): Has done well since his arrival in Kentucky and continued to show a fondness for the oval going an easy five furlongs under exercise rider Cindy Hutter. Was relaxed early then finished up willingly, covering his final quarter in a sharp :24.80 before galloping out in 1:15.

IT'SALLINTHECHASE (five furlongs in 1:01.60) Working at 7:15 a.m. over a track that still had some moisture in it, It'sallinthechase began at a similar pace to Wild Horses but did not finish up quite as strong although did gallop out nicely under jockey Eddie Martin Jr.