04/25/2007 11:00PM

Tagg: Talent can make up for inexperience

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There will be a lot of discussion in the next week about Curlin trying to become the first horse to win the Derby who did not race as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882 and the first horse to win the race with only three lifetime starts since Regret in 1915.

The last horse to try to do what Curlin is trying was Showing Up, who finished sixth in last year's Derby after winning his first three starts, including the Lexington Stakes. Barclay Tagg, the trainer of Showing Up, said talent can overcome inexperience.

"It's hard to knock him," Tagg said of Curlin. "Really, really superior horses don't need the experience, they just go do it if he comes across a field that's light for him. Ruffian ran her first race in May of her 2-year-old year and won by 15 lengths, and was undefeated for two years before she broke her leg. . . . I don't know if she needed experience or not, because she never got any. She never got bumped, she never got stopped. Curlin might be the same way, so I'm not going to say he can't do it."

Tagg will try to prevent Curlin from doing it, as he will send out Nobiz Like Shobiz in this year's Derby.

Curlin has won his first three starts by a combined 28 1/2 lengths and will have three weeks' rest between the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby. Showing Up won his first three starts by a combined

7 1/2 lengths and had to run back two weeks after winning the Lexington. He came out of the race with an infection in his leg.

"He was undefeated, he was an aggressive horse, and he was absolutely fearless," Tagg said of Showing Up. "I saw no reason not to take a shot at it. Sometimes you can beat 14 horses and win the damn race. In hindsight, if I knew he was going to be sixth I wouldn't have done it."

Miller plays it safe

Darrin Miller had planned to ship his two Derby horses, Dominican and Sedgefield, to Churchill from Keeneland after training hours Thursday, but when a vanload of 2-year-olds was sent to Miller's stable Wednesday at Keeneland, the trainer amended his original plan.

"I went ahead and got the Derby horses out of there and brought them here to Churchill," Miller said Thursday. "You never know what kind of sickness 2-year-olds might have, with runny noses and all that. There just wasn't any sense in running the risk of exposing them to that."

Dominican, with exercise rider Willie Herrera up, was out after the harrow break Thursday and jogged "maybe a mile and a quarter," said Miller, adding that Dominican, winner of the Blue Grass, will work Sunday.

Sedgefield, with Miller aboard, was out before the break and jogged about a mile. The colt is scheduled to work Sunday or Monday.

The Miller horses, both owned by the Silverton Hills Farm of Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton, are stabled in Barn 33, which long has served as the Churchill base for the Bob Baffert stable.

- additional reporting by Marty McGeeThere will be a lot of discussion in the next week about Curlin trying to become the first horse to win the Derby who did not race as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882 and the first horse to win the race with only three lifetime starts since Regret in 1915.

The last horse to try to do what Curlin is trying was Showing Up, who finished sixth in last year's Derby after winning his first three starts, including the Lexington Stakes. Barclay Tagg, the trainer of Showing Up, said talent can overcome inexperience.

"It's hard to knock him," Tagg said of Curlin. "Really, really superior horses don't need the experience, they just go do it if he comes across a field that's light for him. Ruffian ran her first race in May of her 2-year-old year and won by 15 lengths, and was undefeated for two years before she broke her leg. . . . I don't know if she needed experience or not, because she never got any. She never got bumped, she never got stopped. Curlin might be the same way, so I'm not going to say he can't do it."

Tagg will try to prevent Curlin from doing it, as he will send out Nobiz Like Shobiz in this year's Derby.

Curlin has won his first three starts by a combined 28 1/2 lengths and will have three weeks' rest between the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby. Showing Up won his first three starts by a combined

7 1/2 lengths and had to run back two weeks after winning the Lexington. He came out of the race with an infection in his leg.

"He was undefeated, he was an aggressive horse, and he was absolutely fearless," Tagg said of Showing Up. "I saw no reason not to take a shot at it. Sometimes you can beat 14 horses and win the damn race. In hindsight, if I knew he was going to be sixth I wouldn't have done it."

Miller plays it safe

Darrin Miller had planned to ship his two Derby horses, Dominican and Sedgefield, to Churchill from Keeneland after training hours Thursday, but when a vanload of 2-year-olds was sent to Miller's stable Wednesday at Keeneland, the trainer amended his original plan.

"I went ahead and got the Derby horses out of there and brought them here to Churchill," Miller said Thursday. "You never know what kind of sickness 2-year-olds might have, with runny noses and all that. There just wasn't any sense in running the risk of exposing them to that."

Dominican, with exercise rider Willie Herrera up, was out after the harrow break Thursday and jogged "maybe a mile and a quarter," said Miller, adding that Dominican, winner of the Blue Grass, will work Sunday.

Sedgefield, with Miller aboard, was out before the break and jogged about a mile. The colt is scheduled to work Sunday or Monday.

The Miller horses, both owned by the Silverton Hills Farm of Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton, are stabled in Barn 33, which long has served as the Churchill base for the Bob Baffert stable.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee