Updated on 09/18/2011 1:36AM

Showing Up has much to live up to

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Showing Up shows his tactical speed in the Jamaica at Belmont, rating before his winning rally.

With such a strong record, Showing Up will be favored in the Hollywood Derby at 1 1/4 miles on turf. He is facing his toughest test against his age group.

Showing Up is one of 11 entrants in the Hollywood Derby. Others in the race are Santa Anita Derby winner Brother Derek, Oak Tree Derby winner Dark Islander, and the European stakes winner Ivan Denisovich, who was second in the Secretariat.

The Hollywood Derby is the sixth race on a 10-race program that features the $500,000 Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile on turf. The program includes a $1 million guaranteed pick six pool, which covers races 5 through 10.

Showing Up is a rare starter in California for New York trainer Barclay Tagg, best known for winning the 2003 Kentucky Derby with Funny Cide. Owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson, Showing Up finished sixth in this year's Kentucky Derby, the only time he has finished worse than third.

Arguably Showing Up's most impressive win came in the Jamaica Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Belmont Park on Oct. 14. Ridden by regular rider Cornelio Velasquez, Showing Up was third for the first seven furlongs and rallied quickly in the stretch to take command.

"He did it very well," said Robin Smullen, Tagg's assistant trainer. "He settled nicely. He wasn't eager early like was in the Man o' War, and when Cornelio asked him, he took off."

Smullen said that Showing Up's best asset is his "tactical speed and that he's relaxed behind horses."

Such a trait will be invaluable in the Hollywood Derby, where Kip Deville and Brother Derek are expected to ensure a quick pace. Kip Deville, who races as an entry with Frost Giant, has shown speed in his last several starts.

Brother Derek, who is making his turf debut, finished fifth in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, leading to the

quarter pole before finishing five lengths behind Invasor.

Trainer Dan Hendricks expects Brother Derek to be first or second in the first half-mile.

"This is more of a strategic race with the other speed horse drawn inside," Hendricks said. "He'll be first or second. It's a matter of who wants [the lead] more."

Brother Derek is winless in five starts since the Santa Anita Derby in April, but did finish fourth in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in May. Hendricks insists that Brother Derek's eight-race campaign this year has not been too much to ask of the 3-year-old.

"He's full of himself right now and couldn't be better," Hendricks said. "We haven't ducked anyone all year."

Ivan Denisovich rebounded from a loss in the Secretariat Stakes to win the Solonaway Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland on Sept. 17. Six days later, he finished last of eight in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, serving as a pacesetter for stablemate George Washington, who won the race.

Ivan Denisovich's second-place effort in the Secretariat makes him look competitive in the Hollywood Derby.

"He likes good ground," said Pat Keating, an assistant to trainer Aidan O'Brien. "It was firm in Chicago. He's in good form."

The same can be said of Dark Islander, who has won three of his last four starts, including his U.S. debut in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby on Oct. 14. He has been rested since for his first try at 1 1/4 miles.

Dark Islander breaks from the rail. His trainer, John Hills, is hopeful that a quick pace will allow Dark Islander to rate in midpack.

"He's had a nice break to settle in, and that suits me going 1 1/4 miles the first time," Hills said. "I'm hoping they'll go a good speed and he'll be in the right place to drop in."