Brother Derek Ready for Santa Catalina Challenge

Brother Derek will take another step toward the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) Saturday when trainer Dan Henricks sends him out in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.

The Santa Catalina will mark Brother Derek's second start as a 3-year-old following his 1 1/2-length defeat of 2-year-old champion Stevie Wonderboy who has since gone to the sidelines with injury.

Brother Derek, owned by Cecil Peacock, tuned up for the Santa Catalina by breezing six furlongs Feb. 23 in a bullet 1:12 1/5 under regular rider Alex Solis.

"His last two works were phenomenal," Henricks said during a National Thoroughbred Racing Association teleconference Tuesday. "Especially his last work; he went two seconds faster than any other horse."

The son of Benchmark could face as many as eight opponents in the 1 1/16-mile race. Others reportedly under consideration for the Santa Catalina include Sham Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Hawkinsville, stakes winner Objective, as well as maiden winners Latent Heat and Point of Impact.

Hendricks said he would like to get an "easy" race out of Brother Derek, who has turned in back-to-back strong performances in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) and San Rafael.

"I'd like a walkover, that would be fine with me," Hendricks said. "No matter who goes in there with me I'd like an easy race. We don't need a taxing race. We're not Secretariat or anything; we just hope to get through it clean without a taxing race."