04/29/2006 12:00AM

Slew of Derby horses work Saturday morning


On a morning when 12 Kentucky Derby hopefuls put in workouts at Churchill Downs, Barbaro, the undefeated winner of the Florida Derby, and Illinois Derby winner Sweetnorthernsaint, turned in the two most visually impressive moves.

Working before the renovation break, Barbaro worked five furlongs in 59.48 seconds under exercise rider Peter Brette. Trainer Michael Matz was only looking for a half-mile work, but Barbaro, from the half-mile pole, rolled through fractions of 13.06 seconds, 25.06, 35.70, 47.21 and was caught galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.14.

"He was only supposed go a half, but I don't mind the time as well as he did it well enough," Matz said.

Sweetnorthernsaint, working in company with stablemate , worked six furlongs in 1:11.79. Jockey Calvin Borel was a last-second replacement for Kent Desormeaux, who had flown to Louisville from New York on Friday night, but overslept Saturday morning.

Trainer Michael Trombetta had Borel scheduled to work Fleet Valid. With help from Jerry Hissam, Borel's agent, Trombetta was able to get Willie Martinez to work Fleet Valid.

Sunriver, who would need two defections to get into the Derby field, worked seven furlongs in 1:26.38 under retired Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero Jr. Red Raymond, who would need five defections to get into the race worked five furlongs in 59.72 seconds.

Action picked up following the renovation break as nine Derby hopefuls hoping to beat the rain. Though showers did fall, the track remained fast.

Blue Grass winner Sinister Minister was first up, working five furlongs in 1:00.32. Arkansas Derby winner Lawyer Ron worked six furlongs in 1:11.57; Keyed Entry went six furlongs in 1:12.52; Bluegrass Cat went four furlongs in 50.80; Steppenwolfer went six furlongs in 1:12.59, Sharp Humor went five furlongs in 58.82 seconds; Cause to Believe went five furlongs in 1:01.51 though he drifted out and then lugged in toward the end of the move.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin's duo of Jazil and Flashy Bull worked in company with Jazil working five furlongs in 1:00.38 and Flashy Bull in 1:00.58.