04/04/2006 12:00AM

Top four draw outside posts in Illinois Derby


STICKNEY, Ill. - All the favorites in Saturday's Illinois Derby will start on the outside looking in, with the race's top four betting choices drawing the four outside posts when entries were taken late Tuesday morning.

Cause to Believe, who won the El Camino Real Derby in January and the California Derby in March, drew post 7 and was installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a 10-horse field. On the far outside is Sweetnorthernsaint, who was listed as the 4-1 second choice but may wind up a shorter price than that come 4:12 p.m. Saturday, the scheduled post time for the local derby, which goes as race 7 on a 10-race card.

In post 8 is Racketeer, who will attract many supporters with trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Patrick Valenzuela in his corner, as well as a close fourth-place finish in the March 18 San Felipe Stakes. Just outside him is My Golden Song, third in the Holy Bull Stakes and fourth in the Fountain of Youth during his winter campaign in Florida.

The inside-drawn horses, all longshots of one degree or another, are, from the rail: Malameeze, Creative Force, Itsallboutthechase, Lewis Michael, Devilofarush, and Mister Triester. Lewis Michael, a turf horse for most of his career, worked a bullet five furlongs in company here Tuesday morning for trainer Wayne Catalano, who was pleased with the work.

"He took it real good," Catalano said.

Less satisfied Tuesday afternoon was Mike Trombetta, Sweetnorthernsaint's trainer. Sweetnorthernsaint has speed to compensate for his wide draw, but breaking from post 10 is still far from ideal.

"I gotta deal with it," Trombetta said. "I've never been there before, but I expect there's a pretty good run up to the first turn."

There is a good chunk of straightaway before the horses hit the bend, and Sweetnorthernsaint's jockey, Kent Desormeaux, should have a chance to drop in for position. Racketeer figures to be on or near the lead, and both Mister Triester and Devilofarush have speed, should their riders choose to use it.

A contested pace would be ideal for the late-running Cause to Believe, who was due to arrive at Hawthorne late Tuesday afternoon. Russell Baze is named to ride for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and Cause to Believe can earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby with a solid showing here Saturday.

1MalameezeJ. McKee8-1
2Creative ForceE. Perez30-1
3ItsallaboutthechaseC. Emigh12-1
4Lewis MichaelF. Alvarado 20-1
5DevilofarushE. Baird30-1
6Mister TriesterB. Blanc8-1
7Cause to BelieveR. Baze5-2
8RacketeerP. Valenzuela5-1
9My Golden SongC. DeCarlo5-1
10SweetnorthernsaintK. Desormeaux4-1