02/25/2005 1:00AM

Sort It Out may skip Louisiana Derby

Email

NEW ORLEANS - Sort It Out, who was tentatively pointed for the March 12 Louisiana Derby after being purchased privately by trainer Bob Baffert for new owner Bob McNair of Stonerside Stable, may not be going to the Big Easy after all.

"I think it's doubtful that he might be coming," Baffert said. "Right now he might need some more time. We just want to take a long look at him before we decide to do anything with him. He looks good, but I don't want to send him to the Louisiana Derby unless he's 100 percent."

Baffert knows what it takes to win the Louisiana Derby. Last year he saddled Wimbledon to win the race.

Sort It Out, a New York-bred, beat Galloping Grocer in the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 12. It was his third straight victory for trainer Allen Iwinski and owner Preferred Pals Stable, who maintain a minor interest in the Out of Place colt.

"He's had a hard winter in New York," said Baffert. "I think we might give him a bit of a rest before we do anything with him."

Asmussen readying Actxecutive

Trainer Steve Asmussen has added another talented 3-year-old to his barn - Actxecutive, who worked six furlongs in 1:15 on Thursday. Actxecutive came out of the work fine, Asmussen said, but he has yet to map out a schedule for the colt.

"I'm going to work him again next week and then I'll decide," he said.

Owner James McIngvale makes no secret of his desire to have Actxecutive run in the Kentucky Derby, but the horse has yet to race as a 3-year-old. "He's got a lot of talent," Asmussen said.

Actxecutive, a chestnut son of Noactor, flashed plenty of talent during his 2-year-old campaign. After winning his maiden at first asking in May at Calder, he was purchased privately and sent to Baffert. The trainer ran him at Hollywood Park, where he finished second in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile, then at Del Mar, where he was second to stablemate Roman Ruler in the Grade 2 Best Pal.

McIngvale switched trainers last fall, sending Actxecutive to Nick Hines, but the colt suffered a series of minor problems that kept him from racing. Earlier this year, McIngvale turned over Actxecutive to Asmussen.

McIngvale won last year's Louisiana Derby with Wimbledon, and while he would love nothing better than a repeat of that victory, the chances of Asmussen running Actxecutive in the Louisiana Derby off works alone are extremely slim.

Asked if there was any chance Actxecutive would run in the Louisiana Derby, Asmussen flatly replied, "No."

"It's up to Steve to see where he's at," McIngvale said. "Obviously, the goal is the Kentucky Derby."

It's unclear if a race at Fair Grounds is in Actxecutive's immediate future.

"I think he'll be ready to run before the end of the meet," said Asmussen. "Where he'll run, I haven't decided."

As for Wimbledon, he has been turned out on a Texas farm after suffering a tendon injury before last year's Kentucky Derby. Wimbledon underwent stem-cell surgery, a procedure similar to what Candid Glen had before his return to the races after a 16-month absence last fall.

"We're hoping for a miracle," said McIngvale. "But if it doesn't work out, we'll send him to stud."

* Rick Mocklin, longtime agent for Corey Lanerie, will take over Gerard Melancon's book at the end of the Fair Grounds meet, which runs until March 27. Lanerie is moving his tack to Kentucky eventually, and Mocklin wants to stay with his family in Louisiana.