04/30/2007 12:00AM

Scat Daddy looking full of run

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - It wasn't too many years ago when nearly half the field for the Kentucky Derby would get in their final major work for the race within about a 10-minute span after the renovation break at Churchill Downs on the Sunday before the main event. But those days are long gone.

Nearly half the field for this year's Kentucky Derby did work on Sunday. But those works took place from coast to coast at four different racetracks, beginning early that morning at Keeneland and ending several hours later at Hollywood Park.

At Keeneland, Todd Pletcher and Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero Jr. took center stage early Sunday, attracting a large crowd of railbirds to watch top Derby contenders Any Given Saturday, Circular Quay, and Scat Daddy, as well as the Kentucky Oaks favorite, Rags to Riches, work. Teuflesberg, Dominican, and the Pletcher-trained Sam P. worked at Churchill. Nobiz Like Shobiz got in his final major prep at Belmont Park, while Stormello and Tiago completed the busy morning on the West Coast.

Work of the day

Scat Daddy (five furlongs in 59.56 seconds): The work of the day by a nose over Circular Quay's.

Working in bar shoes on both front feet and with Cordero aboard, Scat Daddy was on the muscle as he made his way around to the five-furlong pole, at which point he burst away full of run. That eagerness and the substantial run up to the pole resulted in quick opening fractions of 11.74 and 23.64 seconds, although he came to hand quickly once he entered the turn. Scat Daddy continued to tug along as he switched leads on cue after exiting the turn, and despite Cordero taking a firm hold coming down the stretch, Scat Daddy covered his final quarter in an effortless 23.92 seconds. He then proceeded to gallop out straight as a string and very willingly when he was given a couple of nudges approaching the clubhouse turn, finishing up six furlongs in 1:11.94. He has a long and very efficient stride and couldn't be coming into the Derby looking any better.

Circular Quay (five furlongs in 1:00.25): He worked in company once again with Rags to Riches, who will likely be the odds-on favorite to win the Kentucky Oaks. Circular Quay was on the outside as the pair came away from the pole well in hand, covering the opening quarter in a relatively easy 12.51 and 24.90 seconds.

Circular Quay held a slim advantage as the duo fanned out a bit off the rail leaving the turn, and with Cordero never changing his hold or moving his hands at any point, he maintained that slim margin right to the wire.

The two traveled their final quarter-mile in a brisk 23.56 seconds, with Rags to Riches coming down the stretch with her head cocked outwards, and she switched back to her right lead about 40 yards from the wire. That was slightly faster than Scat Daddy's last two furlongs, which was to be expected considering he worked alone and Circular Quay and Rags to Riches were in company. The gallop-out was also very solid, six furlongs in 1:12.10 and seven eighths in 1:27.01. This was a strong and purposeful work for Circular Quay, who has not run in eight weeks, and an improvement over his previous breeze one week earlier. You had the notion watching the pair jog back home that there was a good chance you might be looking at the Oaks-Derby daily double.

Any Given Saturday (five furlongs in 1:01.25): The first of the Pletcher horses to go on Sunday, he made a beautiful appearance galloping to the pole with his neck bowed, and he didn't turn a hair when he passed a galloper at the beginning of the work. He was taken well in hand away from the pole and kept under wraps for the entire five furlongs by Cordero for what was little more than a maintenance work following a stiffer outing the previous week. He went along at an even pace, completing his final quarter-mile in 24.43 seconds, although he did not gallop out quite as strongly as the others, pulling up in 1:14.31.

Churchill Downs

Dominican (five furlongs in 59.40 seconds, according to track clockers): With exercise rider Willie Herrera a late replacement for jockey Rafael Bejarano, Dominican went in company with stablemate Avenstoke. Dominican, breaking off late and racing furthest outside, remained on even terms with his mate, not switching leads until midstretch. His action appeared to be awkward and choppy once he was put to urging, even though he was able to pull away from his partner in the final sixteenth. He seems to have a stride more suitable to turf than dirt, and you get the impression he is still not nearly as comfortable on a conventional dirt track as over the Polytrack.

Sam P. (five furlongs in 1:00, according to track clockers): He began about a length behind stablemate Awesome Ashley, drew even midway on the turn, and finished well enough without much urging, although he did have his head cocked slightly outward while trying to lean in on his workmate just a bit through the final furlong.

Teuflesberg (five furlongs in 1:00.80, according to track clockers): An even, maintenance-type workout for a horse who continues to look magnificent despite a hard campaign.

Belmont Park

Nobiz Like Shobiz (five furlongs in 59.98 seconds): With jockey Cornelio Velasquez aboard, Nobiz Like Shobiz broke into a controlled gallop at the 7 1/2-furlong pole and got into his breeze at the five-furlong pole, according to Daily Racing Form's David Grening. Velasquez wasn't doing much with his hands as Nobiz Like Shobiz clicked off fractions of 12.28, 24.57, 36.03, and 47.86 seconds. He came into the stretch two paths off the rail and finished the work totally on his own, with Velasquez maintaining a solid grip on the reins. He was not asked for much in his gallop-out, which was timed in 1:13.58.

Hollywood Park

Tiago (six furlongs in 1:11.40, according to track clockers): With jockey Mike Smith aboard, Tiago broke off three lengths behind stablemate Gem Palace and drew off in the final furlong, lugging down to the rail with Smith appearing to have a firm hold on the outside line in an attempt to keep his horse on a straight course nearing the wire.

Stormello (five furlongs in 1:00.80, according to track clockers). He broke two lengths behind stablemate Eyealrite under jockey Kent Desormeaux, then pulled away in the final furlong under some pressure to finish his final quarter in 24.40 seconds.

All times clocked by Daily Racing Form unless noted otherwise.

- additional reporting by David Grening and Steve Andersen