Updated on 09/18/2011 12:53AM

As rain looms, 13 work out

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Ridden by John McKee, who has the mount for the Derby, Lawyer Ron goes five furlongs in a bullet 58.80 seconds.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It was the perfect storm. With the Kentucky Derby just one week away, trainers on edge about getting in final works for the race, and rain fast approaching, 13 3-year-olds whose connections are desirous of running in the 132nd Derby on May 6 recorded workouts as light rain fell on Saturday morning at Churchill Downs.

Eleven of the 13 - including Florida Derby winner Barbaro, Arkansas Derby winner Lawyer Ron, and Illinois Derby winner Sweetnorthernsaint - are assured of starting spots in the Derby. But two - Red Raymond and Sunriver - still need some help to get into the field.

A maximum of 20 horses will have post positions selected on Wednesday afternoon. If more than 20 horses are entered on Wednesday morning, as expected, the field will be determined by earnings in graded stakes races. Sunriver has a slight chance of getting into the race, Red Raymond less so.

Their chances were enhanced by the result of the $116,100 on the opening-day card Saturday afternoon, which drew 15,658 fans. Mister Triester and Dawn of War, both of whom were in the top 20, finished third and fourth, respectively, behind the victorious Record.

Warren Stute, the trainer of Mister Triester, said after the race that the chances were "very slight" that Mister Triester would come back in the Derby, but that a final decision would be made by owner B. Wayne Hughes.

Ken Ramsey, the owner of Dawn of War, said his colt was out of Derby consideration.

"It would not be right to go," he said after the race.

If Mister Triester also comes out, Flashy Bull would be 20th on the earnings list, Sunriver 21st.

Most of the Derby contenders already at Churchill Downs were originally scheduled to work either Saturday or Sunday. But with rain in the forecast, trainers whose horses were scheduled to go on Sunday all decided to beat the heavy rain expected later Saturday and work Saturday morning. As a result, 13 horses drilled, with four going before the renovation break and nine after, ranging from Sunriver in near darkness shortly after the track opened at 6 a.m., to the team of Flashy Bull and Jazil just before 9.

The most impressive drill among the baker's dozen was turned in by the undefeated Barbaro. He received an official time of 46 seconds for a half-mile, the best time of 69 at the distance, but he went out strongly past the finish and received a five-furlong time of 59.48 seconds from Daily Racing Form. Regardless, Barbaro did it effortlessly under exercise rider Peter Brette, showed an electrifying turn of foot coming down the stretch, and seemed unfazed by having his work delayed momentarily when a loose horse caused a piercing alarm to be sounded.

"He's an impressive animal," Brette said.

Michael Matz, the trainer of Barbaro, said the fast time did not concern him, "as long as he did it well enough."

Matz, who had accompanied Barbaro to the track on his pony, at first did not realize the alarm was for a loose horse.

"It sounded so far away, I thought it was a car in the parking lot," Matz said.

Both Lawyer Ron and Sweetnorthernsaint also recorded the day's fastest times at their respective work distances.

Lawyer Ron, the first horse on the track after the renovation break, zipped five furlongs in 58.80 under jockey John McKee, the best time of 48 at the distance. He is trained by Bob Holthus.

Sweetnorthernsaint, working in company with stablemate Fleet Valid, went six furlongs in 1:11.60, the best time of 11 at the distance. He was ridden by Calvin Borel, who was a late replacement when jockey Kent Desormeaux failed to show by the scheduled work time of 6:30 a.m. Desormeaux did not make contact with his agent, Jim Pegram, nor trainer Michael Trombetta until after 8 a.m.

"Kent called me after the work and said he overslept," Trombetta said. "Hopefully we'll be able to laugh about this one day."

Trainer Todd Pletcher worked all three of his Derby candidates. Bluegrass Cat went a half-mile in 50.80 seconds with exercise rider Luis Castillo. Angel Cordero Jr. was aboard both Keyed Entry and Sunriver. Keyed Entry was timed in 1:12.80 for six furlongs. Sunriver was given an official time of 1:13.60 for six furlongs, though Daily Racing Form had him going seven furlongs in 1:26.38.

Cordero leaped off Keyed Entry after his 8:30 drill to work Jazil in company with Flashy Bull, who had exercise rider Desmond Farrell aboard. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained duo worked five furlongs, with Jazil finishing slightly in front at the wire. Both got official times of 1:00.40. Flashy Bull and Jazil both arrived at Churchill Downs on Friday from Keeneland.

Two of the Derby's fastest runners, Sharp Humor and Sinister Minister, both worked as if they are intent on the early lead in the race.

Jockey Mark Guidry let Sharp Humor roll, and he completed five furlongs in 59 seconds; Daily Racing Form had him marginally faster, at 58.82 seconds. Sinister Minister also went five furlongs and was timed in 1:00.20. Garrett Gomez was aboard for the work, but Victor Espinoza has the mount in the Derby; Gomez rides Bob and John in the Derby.

Cause to Believe was given an official time of 1:00.80 for five furlongs, though Daily Racing Form had him slower, in 1:01.51. Cause to Believe was under severe pressure in the lane from exercise rider Daron Long, and was drifting in.

"He's not a very good work horse," said his trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer. "Fortunately for us, he's better in his races. He worked pretty good today, for him."

Steppenwolfer worked six furlongs in 1:13 with jockey Robby Albarado. Red Raymond worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds.

Brother Derek, the likely Derby favorite, galloped. He is scheduled to work on Monday, but his trainer, Dan Hendricks, said he would postpone the work if inclement weather lingers.

"I'll go Monday as long as it doesn't rain," Hendricks said. "I can go Tuesday or Wednesday if I have to."

Sacred Light arrived at Churchill Downs on Saturday following a flight from California.

* Record ($12.20) won the Derby Trial by a neck over 54-1 longshot Spotsgone. Rafael Bejarano rode Record, who covered one mile on the fast main track in 1:36.32. Bob Baffert trains Record for Bill Bianco's Sunset Stables.

Protagonus was pulled up on the turn with fractured sesamoids in his right front leg, according to Dr. Rick Fischer, the attending veterinarian. He said Protagonus was being taken immediately to the Rood and Riddle Clinic in Lexington.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee