05/06/2004 11:00PM

Yeats gets last Epsom Derby prep


Yeats will have his final tune-up for the Epsom Derby on Sunday when he attempts to extend his unbeaten streak to three in Leopardstown's Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Stakes.

An Aidan O'Brien-trained son of Sadler's Wells, Yeats was not tested in either his one-mile maiden score last September or his 10-length cakewalk against two outclassed foes in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes on April 18. In the 1 1/4-mile Derrinstown, he will face just four rivals, among them the distant third-place finisher in the Ballysax, Lord Admiral.

More dangerous are Barati, winner of a 27-runner Curragh maiden in his debut, and Relaxed Gesture, whose best effort came last fall when he was second by a neck in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes to Azamour, who was third in last week's 2000 Guineas. Yeats, however, should turn them back to head for his June 5 assignment at Epsom as the unbeaten Derby favorite.

* Only three started in Friday's Epsom Derby prep, the Group 3 Dee Stakes at Chester, in which Sandown Classic Trial winner African Dream (2-5) defeated Putra Sas by three-quarters of a length, getting the 1 1/4 miles, 75 yards in 2:19.74. Like Thursday's Chester Vase winner, Red Lancer, African Dream is ineligible for the Derby, as he is a gelding.