Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Eyes on Derek

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Eyes on Derek
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When 12 Derby horses work there is not going to be much going on the next day, and as a result this is going to be more of a short update. Brother Derek, Private Vow, and Storm Treasure are scheduled to work on Monday, and that pretty much will be it as far as workouts.

In advance of Brother Derek's drill, weather permitting, this is a good time to mention that the son of Benchmark has the most fluid action you could ever hope to see in a racehorse. Although there are some beautiful moving 3-year-olds in this year's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Brother Derek stands well above them all.

Watching him gallop the past few days, one has to be amazed at the way he glides over the ground and how light he is on his feet. Although this may sound over the top, you really have to see this colt move in person to truly appreciate how close he is to perfection.

Because of the way he's been handling the Churchill Downs strip, and the odd nature of his last work at Santa Anita, everyone is looking forward to seeing the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner work tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if he looks as good working as he does galloping.

Steve Asmussen's pair of Private Vow and Storm Treasure both turned in strong gallops this morning. Storm Treasure is a handsome, powerfully built colt and looks as if he's just now coming into his own. Asmuseen was thrilled with both colts' works earlier in the week, and is looking for a good maintenance five-furlong drill in about 1:01 tomorrow.

Everyone appears to have come out yesterday's works in good shape. Galen May, who is here with Cause to Believe, said the reason the colt was whipped several times in his work was because he's a very lazy horse and also did not like the cuppy surface.

Jeff Lifson, the former TVG newshound who covered all the Derby doings in his "News of the Day" segment of the popular show, "The Works," was busy Sunday morning searching for his own news of the day for his new employer, West Point Stable. Lifson and West Point's partners are trying to keep close tabs on who is pointing for the Derby and who isn't. And there is no one better at sniffing that out than Lifson.

Their Flashy Bull currently sits at No. 20 on the graded earnings list, and they are hoping the connections of Derby Trial starters Mister Triester and Dawn of War look for other spots for their horses. Both have more graded earnings than Flashy Bull and could bump the son of Holy Bull from the race. After making every inquiry possible, Lifson is confident Flashy Bull will get in the race. And when it comes to getting news, Lifson has no equal, so, unless something unforeseen happens and someone has a sudden change of heart, it looks as if the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) runner-up will be in the starting gate on May 6, and deservedly so.

As for Sunriver, who is right behind Flashy Bull on the graded earnings list, he still needs one horse to defect. The most logical candidate would seem be Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) winner Showing Up, but trainer Barclay Tagg said the colt's owner, Lael Stable, who also owns Barbaro, has left it strictly up to him, and he is planning on shipping the colt on Thursday. Sunriver is another horse who definitely should be in the Derby, and it would be a shame if he isn't, as he has an excellent shot to be a factor at a big price.

One work not touched on earlier was Seaside Retreat's five-furlong drill in :59 2/5. Working in company, the son of King Cugat was striding out beautifully and under no urging in the slightest, and this would have to rank right up with some of the best works seen so far.

The majority of the works this past week were anywhere from good to excellent, with a few that weren't impressive to look at. The important thing to remember is that these are Derby horses who have all qualified to run for the roses. It is rare that you are going to see too many Derby horses come in here looking bad physically. Some obviously will look outstanding and outshine the others. The object here is not to eliminate horses based on appearance as much as it is to pick out the few that stand out from the others, and that will be attempted, as usual, in next Friday's column.

Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Deputy Glitters is scheduled to work on Wednesday, according to trainer Tom Albertrani, who said the son of Deputy Commander will gallop a little stronger tomorrow and then return to his normal gallop on Tuesday. Albertrani said he is willing to throw out the Wood Memorial (gr. I) because of the slop and hopes the colt returns to his form at Tampa.

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