Espinoza Gets to Know Ministers Wild Cat

Irving and Marjorie Cowan's Triple Crown hopeful Ministers Wild Cat worked seven furlongs in 1:27 1/5 with new jockey Victor Espinoza in the irons at Hollywood Park Friday morning.

Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale was happy with the effort and is confident horse and rider are already familiar enough with each other to produce a top finish in next Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).

"Victor was given instructions to just let (Ministers Wild Cat) relax," Drysdale said. "And he settled very well behind some other horses. Victor dropped his hands and basically just let him run on in the last furlong. It was just what I wanted to see."

Ministers Wild Cat, a son of Deputy Minister and the champion mare Hollywood Wildcat, has won two of his four career starts, including the Feb. 9 Golden State Mile, with two seconds for earnings of $112,050. His last start was a runner-up finish to fellow Santa Anita Derby hopeful Ocean Terrace in the Mar. El Camino Real Derby (gr. III).

If all goes well in Southern California's top 3-year-old race, the colt will likely head on to Louisville for a shot at the Run for the Roses. Drysdale saddled Fusaichi Pegasus to win the Derby in 2000.

"I think you'll see a big improvement next time from last time," Drysdale said.