08/22/2006 12:00AM

St. Louis Derby gets Lawyer Ron


Trainer Bob Holthus has mapped out a two-prep route for Lawyer Ron to take to the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. The first stop is on Saturday, but it is in an unconventional location.

Entries were taken Tuesday for the $250,000 St. Louis Derby at Fairmount Park, the southern Illinois track that has not hosted a race of national significance since the demise of the Grade 3 Fairmount Derby in 1995, and Lawyer Ron drew post four in the field of 12. The St. Louis Derby, a 1 1/16-mile race whose purse is being privately funded, is the richest race in the 81-year history of Fairmount.

Lawyer Ron was installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite for the race. Earlier in the year, he swept Oaklawn Park's three major Kentucky Derby preps, including the Arkansas Derby. He has not started since finishing 12th in the Kentucky Derby, and later had surgery to remove chips from his right hind ankle.

"He's doing as well as he ever has," Holthus said. "I'm pretty confident. He's had a good three-quarter-mile work."

With a strong showing Saturday, Lawyer Ron would point to the Sept. 23 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs for his final Classic prep.

Lewis Michael, based at Arlington with trainer Wayne Catalano, was made the 3-1 second choice in the St. Louis Derby. Lewis Michael enters off an allowance race at Arlington, which he won by over eight lengths. His best race, however, was probably the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont in May, where he led until the final yards and was beaten a neck by Sunriver.

Cielo Gold and More Than Regal, second and third in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer earlier this month, will also run Saturday. Cielo Gold is seeking his first stakes win. More Than Regal won the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows in late June.

Shipping the farthest for the St. Louis Derby is Kid Lemonade, who is based at Delaware Park with trainer Tim Ritchey. Kid Lemonade turned in a game effort when he won a second-level allowance at Delaware on Aug. 5, earning a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.