04/29/2007 11:00PM

Yum! adds $1M bonus for win margin


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - If a horse in this year's Kentucky Derby on Saturday can exceed Barbaro's 6 1/2-length victory margin from last year's Derby, he will trigger a $1 million bonus, Churchill Downs and the Derby's presenting sponsor, Yum! Brands, announced Monday.

According to David C. Novak, chairman and chief executive officer of Yum!, the bonus would be split equally among the horse's winning owner, trainer, and jockey, as well as the Barbaro Memorial Fund, which is administered by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association charities.

"What better way to honor Barbaro's victory than with this Yumfecta," Novak said.

Barbaro's victory margin was the fifth-largest in the 132-year history of the race. Four horses have won the race by eight lengths, most recently Assault in 1946.

Novak said the bonus was insured.

Bob Evans, president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, said the bonus would "force us to think about Barbaro and be a constant reminder of his greatness."

Asked if the bonus could give a jockey the incentive to ask a horse to win by a wider margin than necessary, Evans replied, "I can't imagine anybody would abuse a horse in that manner."

This will be the second year that Yum! has been the presenting sponsor of the Derby. Yum! is the parent company of A&W, KFC, Long John Silvers, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.

Scat Daddy trains in bar shoes

Scat Daddy, winner of the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth Stakes in his last two starts, has been training with bar shoes on his front feet and had them on for his final workout Sunday at Keeneland. However, he will remove them for Saturday's Derby and race in conventional plates, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Bar shoes are usually used to protect a tender part of a hoof. The shoes Scat Daddy was wearing "keep him from putting pressure on his inside quarters," Pletcher said.

"He won't run in them, but he has trained in them," Pletcher said. "It's not something new. He's had bar shoes, or similar shoes, since July. I'd say that in the last year, for 10 months he's trained in bar shoes. He might not need them any more, but I'm not going to take a chance now."

First day for Kaplan, Leyva

Trainer Bill Kaplan and jockey Juan Leyva are a couple of Kentucky Derby first-time starters. And both were trying to have fun and make the most of their first day on the scene Monday.

Kaplan sent out Storm in May and Imawildandcrazyguy to breeze three furlongs after first galloping five-eighths of a mile at a two-minute clip with Leyva aboard Monday morning. Storm in May, runner-up to Curlin in the Arkansas Derby, is guaranteed a spot in this year's Derby lineup. Imawildandcrazyguy is 22nd on the graded earnings list and not likely to make the cut when entries are drawn Wednesday.

"There are many different ways a trainer can bring a horse up to a race and this is one method I like to use," Kaplan explained after both his potential Derby starters had cooled out Monday. "A fast gallop into a three-eighths breeze is something these horses are used to, and I was ecstatic with the way they went this morning. Juan knows both of them very well and did a fantastic job."

Kaplan said if Imawildandcrazyguy does not make the Derby field, he'll run in the Grade 3 Crown Royal American Turf Stakes on Friday. "He's never set foot on grass but he's bred up and down for the turf," he said.

Leyva, a regular on the south Florida circuit, will be aboard Storm in May regardless of whether Imawildandcrazyguy is in the race.

"Today was the first time I've ever even been at Churchill Downs," Leyva said. "Right now, I don't feel any pressure. Being a close friend with Bill makes it easier for me. Naturally this is very exciting for me, it's every jockey's dream from the day they take out their first license to ride in the Derby."

Last works for Dominican, Sedgefield

Sunday and Monday were important mornings for the owner-trainer team of Silverton Hill Farm and Darrin Miller, and each came off without a hitch.

Dominican and Sedgefield, the colts who will carry the bright pink and silver silks of Silverton in the 133rd Derby, each had his final pre-Derby workout at Churchill, with Dominican going five furlongs Sunday in a bullet 59.40 seconds, and Sedgefield going a half-mile Monday in 48.40.

Miller called the Dominican drill "fantastic" and said that despite the colt's 0-for-3 record on dirt, the work strongly suggests "he's hitting the ground here just as good as he did on Polytrack." Dominican enters the Derby off back-to-back wins in the Rushaway and Blue Grass Stakes, both run over synthetic Polytrack surfaces.

Dominican is sure to command more respect at the betting windows than Sedgefield, who was the beaten favorite in the Transylvania on the Keeneland turf 13 days after finishing second behind Hard Spun in the March 24 Lane's End Stakes.

In any case, Silverton Hill and Miller have cornered the market on the cream of the local jockey colony. Rafael Bejarano, who dominated the Kentucky circuit in 2004-05, has the mount on Dominican, while Julien Leparoux, the North American wins leader in 2006, was named last week to ride Sedgefield.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee and Mike Welsch