05/01/2006 12:00AM

So far, so good for Showing Up

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Flashy Bull, who had been 21st on the graded-earnings list, is now assured of a Derby berth, thanks to the defection of Mister Triester.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The unbeaten Showing Up completed preparations for Saturday's Kentucky Derby by working four furlongs in 49.63 seconds Monday morning at Belmont Park. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez was up for the work.

Belmont clockers caught Showing Up getting his first quarter in 24 seconds and galloping out five furlongs in 1:03.60. Showing Up was working just nine days after he won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 22, his third win in as many starts.

Though trainer Barclay Tagg said there was a strong headwind at Belmont Park Monday morning, he said he would have liked Showing Up to have worked faster.

"He breezed a little slower than I wanted," Tagg said from Belmont Park. "The jock may have misjudged it a little bit. He'll go fast if you chirp to him, and I cautioned the jock about going too fast. He didn't really need it."

Showing Up came out of the Lexington with a puncture wound in his right foreleg. Tagg had treated the horse with antibiotics up until Saturday.

"It seems like it's all right," said Tagg, who won the 2003 Derby with Funny Cide. "If it flares up, then no ballgame."

Tagg said he expected to have a better idea of Showing Up's condition on Tuesday morning. If things were fine, Tagg planned to ship Showing Up to Kentucky on Thursday.

Mud doesn't scare Asmussen

About 1,250 horses call Churchill Downs home at the moment, but only 37 of them recorded timed workouts Monday. When the racetrack opened at 6 a.m., the mud created by more than 24 hours of on-and-off rain still was pretty deep. Horses hooves slapped down hard on the wet going. It was a day for many trainers to tread with caution, waiting for better conditions before putting a good horse through serious exercise.

But among those 37 workers were seven trained by Steve Asmussen, including both his intended Kentucky Derby starters, Storm Treasure and Private Vow, who each worked within a half-hour of the track's opening for training, when the surface was at its wettest. A horse many weeks away from a race might be held out for a drier day, but for those on a tighter schedule, Asmussen is one trainer who does not fear venturing out into the slop.

"I train, and I try to stay on schedule," Asmussen said. "Here and at the Fair Grounds, the thousands of horses I've worked, I'm absolutely secure in it. Sam Houston, Fair Grounds, Churchill, I won't alter my work schedule at any of those places when it's wet."

Private Vow and Storm Treasure have raced only on fast tracks, but neither seemed bothered by Monday's mud. Private Vow worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00, while Storm Treasure went the same distance in 1:00.40.

"I thought they both worked really well," Asmussen said. "You try to treat it as just another work, but I couldn't help being excited by the way they worked."

Flashy Bull assured of a spot in Derby field

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief late Monday afternoon when informed that Mister Triester was no longer under consideration for the Kentucky Derby, paving the way for his Flashy Bull to get into the starting lineup on Saturday.

Flashy Bull was 21st on the graded earnings list prior to Mister Triester's defection. Only the top 20 graded money earners can be entered when the Derby is drawn on Wednesday.

"That's super. That's great," said McLaughlin upon receiving the good news on Monday. "I'm very happy that we're getting an opportunity to run Flashy Bull. I'm really excited for his connections, West Point Thoroughbreds. Win or lose, the Kentucky Derby is a fabulous event and it's great for these people to be involved."

Flashy Bull has won only once in nine starts but was second behind Bluegrass Cat in the Grade 2 Remsen to close out his 2-year-old campaign and second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth earlier this year. The only poor race he has run came in his last start, the Grade 1 Florida Derby, when he finished seventh. Afterward, it was discovered he was suffering from an electrolyte imbalance called the thumps.

"He's doing very well," said McLaughlin. "We're going to throw out the one subpar race in his life because of the thumps. He's going to be back probably midpack or further into the first turn and should come running late if the race is run as expected. I think he's going to outrun his odds."

Mike Smith, who rode 50-1 Giacomo to victory in the 2005 Derby, will ride Flashy Bull for the first time on Saturday.

Solis loses his way

Alex Solis rode on Sunday at Hollywood Park, then took a red-eye flight that arrived in Cincinnati on Monday morning. The trip from that airport to Churchill Downs takes about an hour and 45 minutes. Except, as Alex Solis found out, if you make a wrong turn.

Solis, who was hustling to the track for a scheduled workout with Brother Derek, was within blocks of Churchill Downs on Monday morning, but missed a turn, kept looking for the street he had overlooked, and wound up near downtown before his wife, Sheila, called for help from the rental car. As time ticked away for the workout, the Solises made a U-turn and headed back for the track. At last, after making a turn on Central Ave., a familiar sight loomed. "I can see the twin spires," Sheila said, relieved.

They pulled into the backstretch around 9:15 a.m., and within minutes Solis was aboard Brother Derek and headed to the track for a workout.

"Luckily I didn't get stopped by a cop," Solis said. "I got a little lost on the way here to Churchill. It's a little embarrassing. I've been here so many times."

Dan Hendricks, the trainer of Brother Derek, let the whole event wash over him as he waited in his tack room in Barn 42. While Solis was en route from Cincinnati, he called to check in. "You lost yet?," Hendricks joked, presciently, it turned out. "We'll have him ready to go when you get here."

Once Solis was up on Brother Derek, Hendricks rode over to the frontside to watch the work. Churchill Downs publicist Tony Terry met Hendricks at the clubhouse admission gate and allowed Hendricks's specially equipped van to drive through, then Terry accompanied Hendricks to an elevator that whisked him to the third-floor box seats, in plenty of time to see the workout.

When he got back to the barn, Solis said "Muy bueno" ("very good") to Hendricks before dashing off. He still had to work Kentucky Oaks contender Diplomat Lady before the track closed for training.

Harty moves on without A. P. Warrior

Trainer Eoin Harty said he doesn't think about what might have been. Harty is the former trainer of A. P. Warrior, who will be a live longshot in Saturday's 132nd Kentucky Derby.

Harty trained A. P. Warrior for the colt's first six starts, winning twice. Owner Stan Fulton moved A. P. Warrior to John Shirreffs after the horse finished fourth in the El Camino Real Derby on Jan. 29. In two starts for Shirreffs, A. P. Warrior won the Grade 2 San Felipe and finished third in the Santa Anita Derby. Shirreffs won last year's Kentucky Derby with Giacomo.

"When you start dwelling on those things it [messes] up your entire mojo," said Harty, who worked as an assistant to Bob Baffert when Baffert won the 1997 Derby with Silver Charm. "I got enough horses where I don't have to dwell on that. It would certainly be nice to be in the race when you have one that can run, but I don't give it a whole lot of thought."

Harty is in Kentucky this week where he will run Beholden in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 La Troienne.

- additional reporting by Marcus Hersh, Jay Privman, and Mike Welsch