Midas Eyes kicked off what could be a banner week for trainer Bobby Frankel by posting a 2 ½-length gate-to-wire victory in the $167,400 Derby Trial (gr. III) Saturday at Churchill Downs before an opening day crowd of 14,492.Ridden by Jerry Bailey, who will return next Saturday to pilot Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite Empire Maker for Frankel, 3-year-old Midas Eyes covered the mile in 1:36.22 over a fast track. Midas Eyes won for the third time in four starts.Owned by Edmund Gann, Midas Eyes claimed his second consecutive Grade III event. He won the Swale Stakes on March 15 at Gulfstream Park going seven furlongs. The winner's share of $103,788 increased Midas Eyes' career earnings to $217,928."I was a little nervous going into this race because of all the training I'd missed with this horse," said Frankel, who won his first Derby Trial. "I missed three days and some jogging time coming out of Hollywood (Park) and I couldn't train him the way I wanted to. I thought that might show up at the eighth pole, but his class took over. Jerry told me he really wasn't handling the track too well. But he's just a better horse than those other ones."Midas Eyes could go in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) on May 26 at Belmont Park if he adapts to the track, Frankel said. Sent off as the 3-10 favorite, Midas Eyes returned mutuels of $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10 and created a minus show pool of $162,875. There was a total of $882,166 wagered in the show pool, of which $811,882 was wagered on Midas Eyes. There was also a minus place pool of $782. Champali, the second choice in the field of six, ridden by Pat Day, returned $2.10 and $2.10. Desert Warrior, ridden by Cornelio Velazquez, finishing 13 ¼ lengths back in third and returning $2.10."He was very professional out there today," said Bailey after winning his fifth Derby Trial. "He broke well and went to the lead as we figured. He really relaxed well for me today. I was able to give him a breather with nobody at his throat and he went on from there.
"He had to work a little harder on this track. Other than that, we had no problems. If he can learn to relax like he did today, his potential is unlimited."(Chart, Equibase)