05/02/2007 11:00PM

Tagg wants Nobiz Like Shobiz to stalk


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Talk about being fashionably late.

Trainer Barclay Tagg arrived in Louisville shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday evening and made it to the post position draw downtown about three minutes before he had to select a post position for Nobiz Like Shobiz for Saturday's 133rd Kentucky Derby.

Thursday morning, Tagg was one of the early arrivals on the Churchill backstretch as he prepared his horse to go to the track for the first time. On a rainy morning, Nobiz Like Shobiz, the Remsen and Wood Memorial winner, had a somewhat busy day, visiting the starting gate and the paddock before jogging about a half-mile under exercise rider Derek Sturniolo.

"I told Barclay I couldn't be happier with him today; his demeanor everything," Sturniolo said.

Afterwards, Tagg took part in one of his favorite pastimes, talking to the media. Tagg, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2003 with Funny Cide, said he's happy with Nobiz Like Shobiz entering the Derby.

"I wouldn't trade this horse for any other horse," Tagg said. "I think there are some magnificent horses in here and I wouldn't mind having any of them, but right now I wouldn't trade him for any of them. I'm perfectly happy with this horse. I'm happy with the way he's come up to this race. I feel confident in him."

Tagg added blinkers to Nobiz Like Shobiz's equipment prior to the Wood Memorial and even used cotton in the colt's ears to help block out crowd noise and keep him less distracted. The blinkers will stay on and the cotton stays in for the Derby.

Though Nobiz Like Shobiz won the Wood racing right on the pace, Tagg said he would prefer the horse to be in a stalking position on Saturday.

"I don't particularly want him on the front end, but I think he's going to have to be very close and in the game," Tagg said.

Jockeying for places in history

This year's Derby marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous 1957 Derby, in which Bill Shoemaker misjudged the finish line aboard Gallant Man. Iron Liege won the race, with Hall of Famers Round Table and Bold Ruler also among the nine starters. This race is considered by many historians as the greatest Derby field ever.

Twenty-five years ago, Gato Del Sol won the Derby, then became infamous when his trainer, Eddie Gregson, decided to pass the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes. Gato Del Sol was the first of consecutive Derby victories for Eddie Delahoussaye, who is the last jockey to win two straight Derbies. Edgar Prado, who won last year's Derby on Barbaro, will try to equal that feat Saturday aboard Scat Daddy. Other riders who have won consecutive Derbies are Isaac Murphy, Ron Turcotte, and Jimmy Winkfield.

Also, courtesy of National Thoroughbred Racing Association publicist Jim Gluckson, comes this note: Ninety years ago, Omar Khayyam won the Derby with a jockey named Borel. Charles Borel. Might that be a possible omen for Street Sense's jockey, Calvin Borel?

Future bet winners and losers

After more than $1.3 million was bet into the three Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools this year, some futures players will be taking an edge into the race Saturday, while some will wish they had just waited until Saturday to make their bets.

Clearly the best bargain resulting from all three pools was the 30-1 on Curlin in Pool 2. Curlin figures somewhere in the 4-1 range at post time Saturday.

Other future wagers that seem to have a decided statistical edge include Scat Daddy, who was 44-1 in Pool 1 and figures in the 10-1 range Saturday, and Street Sense, who was 10-1 in Pool 1 and figures about 4-1 Saturday.

Another bet that looks pretty good is the 5-2 that backers of the mutuel field, the 23rd or "all others" interest, took in Pool 1. Ten of the 20 Derby starters were in the Pool 1 field, including Curlin, Tiago, Dominican, and Cowtown Cat.

Only five of the Derby starters were in the field (6-1) for Pool 2, and just three, all longshots, were in the field (25-1) for Pool 3.

Otherwise, there are no major odds disparities in the futures, although some fans who took 11-1 on Great Hunter in Pool 2, 10-1 on Hard Spun in Pool 1, or 17-1 on Dominican in Pool 3 probably wish they had waited until Saturday, when their odds figure to be a little higher - and their bets didn't run the risk of being waylaid by injury, illness, or other unfavorable circumstances.

No uber-longshot this time

Arguing which of the 20 Derby horses will wind up being the longest shot in the race probably would make for a good proposition bet, but what seems likely is that none will be as high as 99-1.

Three horses have been listed at 50-1 on the Churchill morning line - Sedgefield, Imawildandcrazyguy, and Bwana Bull - while maybe another starter or two seems likely to be sent away higher than their 30-1 morning-line odds, most notably Storm in May and Teuflesberg.

In any case, all of those longshots bring reasonably respectable form to the race, and if recent precedent holds, none will come close to breaking the record for the longest shot in Derby history, which was Royal Shuck, a 179-1 shot who finished 12th and last behind Northern Dancer in 1964.

* Churchill is offering three guaranteed pools on multi-race wagers on Derby Day. With the Derby carded as the 10th race, these are the guarantees: a $1 million pick six (races 5-10), a $750,000 pick four (7-10), and a $750,000 pick three (races 8-10).

For the Derby Day pick six, there is no mandatory payout, and in some prior years that has resulted in a massive carryover for the Wednesday after the Derby.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee and Jay Privman