04/17/2006 11:00PM

Works were study in contrast

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Bob and John, winner of the Wood, went five furlongs in 59.20 seconds.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Their official workout times were identical, 59.20 seconds, but that was the only similarity between Bob and John and Point Determined on Tuesday at Santa Anita.

Under clear blue skies and warm weather, trainer Bob Baffert worked the Kentucky Derby candidates five furlongs after the 9 a.m. renovation break.

Bob and John, winner of the Grade 1 Wood Memorial in his last start, worked first. Breaking off alone at the half-mile pole under Garret Gomez, Bob and John sailed through the workout. Baffert timed him in 46.60 seconds at the wire, 58.80 at the seven-eighths.

"He went off a little fast," Baffert said. "He's pretty fresh."

It was the first work for Bob and John since the Wood, and he bounced off the track full of energy.

"I like it when they go back to the barn bouncing like that, when they pull up with their tail over their back," Baffert said.

Gomez is expected to ride Bob and John in the Derby, while Victor Espinoza is expected to ride Blue Grass winner Sinister Minister. The only confirmation Baffert offered Tuesday, however, was that Rafael Bejarano would ride Point Determined.

Point Determined worked a few minutes after Bob and John, and as usual was anything but flashy. Espinoza and Point Determined broke off at the half-mile pole, slightly more than a length behind the good maiden Evaluate. Point Determined stayed on Evaluate's flank throughout the work. Baffert timed him in 1:00.40 for five furlongs. The work was unremarkable.

"That's him. He'll never dazzle you," Baffert said. "He works the same every time. He's just lazy."

Point Determined finished second in the Santa Anita Derby last time out under Bejarano.

Baffert will enter the Derby with three contenders whose dissimilar running styles give him a chance from any direction.

"I've got them surrounded," Baffert joked. "I've got the front, the middle, and the back. Now I've just got to get them there in one piece."

The Derby colts weren't the only Baffert trainees to work on Tuesday. Grade 1 winner Pussycat Doll worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.40 under Gomez, and is being aimed for the Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs. Grade 1 winner Behaving Badly, also being considered for the Humana, worked a half-mile in 49.60 seconds. Record, who Baffert said is aiming for the Derby Trial, worked five furlongs in 1:01.

Brother Derek 'on schedule'

Kentucky Derby early favorite Brother Derek tack-walked Tuesday, a day after he worked five furlongs in 1:01.40, breezing.

"He's doing super - he's on schedule," trainer Dan Hendricks said. Brother Derek will have a seven-furlong workout Monday and ship to Churchill Downs on Tuesday.

"Two works and two weeks," Hendricks said. "It took forever to get here, but here we are." Commenting on the Derby field, Hendricks noted, "You've got three horses that are kind of undefeated: Barbaro is, Lawyer Ron is on dirt, and mine is around two turns."

Sam's Ace staying home

Sam's Ace will remain in California for the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 30, rather than point for the Kentucky Derby, his trainer, Doug O'Neill, said on Tuesday.

The Snow Chief, at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds, is the richest race on the seventh annual Gold Rush card for California-breds.

Sam's Ace most recently finished fourth in the Florida Derby, which was won by Barbaro. Sam's Ace does not have enough graded-stakes earnings to make the Kentucky Derby field if more than 20 horses are entered, but that could have been addressed had Sam's Ace run this weekend in the Grade 2, $325,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

"No Lexington, no Derby," O'Neill said. "He's staying for the Gold Rush."

Sam's Ace has won 3 times in 5 starts. He was claimed out of his debut by trainer Paddy Gallagher for a partnership headed by Aaron Wellman. Paul Reddam subsequently purchased a majority interest in Sam's Ace from Wellman's group, and transferred Sam's Ace to O'Neill.

Scootin George may try Snow Chief

Trainer Cliff Sise may give Scootin George a shot in the Snow Chief, despite a sixth-place finish Saturday as the 2-1 favorite in the La Puente Stakes on turf.

"For $250,000 I might," Sise said. He believes Scootin George worked too fast before the La Puente, which compromised his performance. He also said Scootin George may "not want to go a mile and an eighth, but they may just stagger home."

The pace in the Snow Chief is likely to be set by the speedy Da Stoops, winner of two Cal-bred sprints early in the Santa Anita winter meet.

Sorenson back in saddle

Eight months after he was injured in a spill at Del Mar, jockey Danny Sorenson returned to horseback Tuesday at Santa Anita.

"It feels good," Sorenson said after galloping one and working two others.

It was the first time Sorenson, 48, had been on a horse since Aug. 15, 2005, when he broke his left collarbone and tore a rotator cuff after his mount, Perfect Judgment, fell in deep stretch of the first race at Del Mar.

Sorenson was expected to miss just three months with the collarbone injury. But when soreness continued, an MRI in November revealed that Sorenson also had a complete tear of his left rotator cuff. Sorenson set the middle of May as his target date for a comeback at Hollywood Park.

"Right now everything feels good," he said.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman