04/27/2003 11:00PM

Ten Most Wanted sharp in drill

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Monday figured to be a relatively quiet one for Kentucky Derby hopefuls. The threat of rain on Tuesday, though, had a couple of trainers move up their horse's final tune-ups by a day, including Wally Dollase, whose Ten Most Wanted put an exclamation mark on the morning's activity with his second impressive drill in five days.

Work of the day

With jockey Pat Day again in the saddle, Ten Most Wanted (five furlongs in 59.54 seconds) came out shortly after 8:30 a.m. on a racetrack already chewed up by countless workers and gallopers. As was the case in his previous work, Ten Most Wanted was a bit anxious approaching the pole, but he broke off smoothly and in stride, cutting out opening fractions of 11.94, 23.81, and 35.14 seconds while not appearing to be going nearly so fast. That momentum carried him about three paths wide coming off the final turn, but Day quickly got him straightened and was sitting chilly as the long-striding colt completed his final quarter-mile in just a shade over 24 seconds. He was impressive galloping out, completing six furlongs in 1:12.48 and continuing strongly for almost another quarter-mile before finally pulling up.

Has trained as well as anyone over the past week.

Scrimshaw (five furlongs in 1:02). Anybody looking for this horse to train the way D. Wayne Lukas's 2002 Lexington winner, Proud Citizen, did leading up to his second-place finish in last year's Kentucky Derby was probably disappointed in Scrimshaw's final prep. Working just after the track opened at 5:15 a.m., Scrimshaw was under little pressure and was traveling well enough during the opening half-mile but began to show signs of tiring inside the eighth pole. He nearly shut down while galloping out, barely making it to the seven-furlong pole in more than an open gallop.

Buddy Gil (five furlongs in 59.85 seconds). One of the first horses on the track following the renovation break. Wearing rings and with jockey Gary Stevens coming out with no stick, Buddy Gil turned in another fast work that included a middle quarter-mile from the three-eighths to the eighth pole in just over 23 seconds. Buddy Gil was under little pressure to finish but did not gallop out as strongly as might be expected, pulling up six furlongs in only 1:14.14.

Eye of the Tiger (five furlongs in 1:01.21). Never really asked for speed by jockey Eibar Coa and appeared to take a couple of missteps approaching the quarter pole, which may indicate he did not take to the racetrack. He ran his final quarter-mile in a respectable 23.65 seconds with Coa shaking the left rein for a bit of encouragement near the sixteenth pole. Galloped out an additional eighth of a mile in 13 seconds.

Indian Express and Supah Blitz turned in impressive gallops. Indian Express, who worked nicely last Wednesday, was aggressive and eager to train. Supah Blitz looked relaxed and laid back when he visited the track for the first time on Sunday but responded well when asked to do more on Monday. He went at better than a two-minute clip through the stretch and all the way around to the half-mile pole before finally pulling up. Both horses were scheduled to work on Tuesday.

* A bevy of Oaks fillies worked on Monday, including Lady Tak who went a half-mile under a strong hold from jockey Lonnie Meche in 49.29 seconds. Island Fashion was on the muscle, completing the final three furlongs of her half-mile work in a sharp 34.64 seconds before galloping out another eighth in in 13 seconds while equipped with blinkers. Atlantic Ocean worked an easy half-mile in 48.25 seconds but galloped out well.

Sunday

Sunday morning was unquestionably the most eagerly awaited training session of the final week leading up to the Derby. The day provided the last opportunity to watch the favorite, Empire Maker, get in some serious work, and he did not disappoint.

Work of the day

Empire Maker (six furlongs in 1:12.72 seconds). Broke off at the 5 1/2-furlong pole alongside stablemate Requete, who will be among the leading contenders in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Classic on Saturday's Derby undercard. Traveling effortlessly, Empire Maker and his workmate went their opening three furlongs in 35.87 seconds, then picked up the pace a bit entering the stretch, covering their next quarter-mile in 23.75 seconds. Empire Maker gradually edged ahead of a pressured Requete in the final furlong while giving the appearance of being in no more than an open gallop and under absolutely no pressure at any point. He couldn't have punctuated his recent stay at Churchill Downs any more impressively.

On just about any other morning, Atswhatimtalknbout (five furlongs in 59.54 seconds) would have surely earned work-of-the-day honors. Equipped in blinkers for the second time since his arrival in Kentucky, he broke off 1 1/2 lengths behind the 3-year-old maiden winner Carthage. He collared his stablemate in early stretch after posting fractions of 36.41 and 47.54 seconds, then easily edged away, finishing his final furlong in 12 seconds without urging. He galloped out six furlongs in a strong 1:12.41. He seemed quite focused with the new equipment and will almost surely be wearing blinkers on Derby day.

Peace Rules (six furlongs in 1:13.98) came out shortly before dawn and, working without company and in rings, posted what are by his standards relatively leisurely fractions. Like Empire Maker, he breezed from the 5 1/2- to the 7 1/2-furlong pole, and he went in 36.16 seconds, 48:62, 1:00.94. He began drifting slightly approaching the wire and continued to get out even farther as he began to tire while concluding his work around the clubhouse turn. He galloped out seven-eighths in a somewhat disappointing 1:29.94.

Ten Cents a Shine (five furlongs in 58.72 seconds) came out under the cover of darkness and did a double-clutch before finally beginning his work. He ducked out sharply, then propped and refused to go on moments after he had broken away from trainer D. Wayne Lukas, aboard his stable pony, leaving the six-furlong pole. He came away in full stride four lengths behind a workmate once he started again several minutes later. With the benefit of a full sixteenth of a mile run to the pole, he blazed through splits of 11.48, 22.82, 34.22, and 45.52 seconds, and caught his mate approaching the stretch. He could not sustain the fast pace or keep up with his unpressured workmate despite being urged. He covered the final furlong in a slow 13.20 seconds before continuing to shut down while galloping out. He finished five-eighths in a fast time but not in a manner befitting a serious Derby contender.

Senor Swinger (five furlongs in 1:00.40, according to track clockers) had the misfortune to break off just as another horse had broken down and likely had his best effort compromised by all the confusion.

* Four Kentucky Oaks contenders also worked on Sunday, led by Santa Catarina, who finished strong and galloped out even better after breezing five furlongs in 1:00.89. Bird Town and My Boston Gal went in nearly identical times of 1:00.07 and 1:00.08, respectively, although My Boston Gal was under a bit more pressure, picking up some unexpected company approaching the quarter pole. Bird Town's stablemate Holiday Lady went a fast half-mile in 47.80 seconds but was shortening stride coming to the wire.

All times clocked by Daily Racing Form unless otherwise noted.