On opposite sides of town Monday, Bertrando and A.P. Indy, the co-favorites in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby, completed their final main workouts for the $500,000 race.
At Santa Anita, Bertrando worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5, according to the official clockers, although trainer Bruce Headley's stopwatch showed 1:00.
Either way, Headley was pleased and happy that Bertrando got the workout in after a scheduled six-furlong work was postponed on Sunday. Headley, who gallops many of his own horses, believed that rain had left the track with a greasy bottom, and after a few of his other horses slipped during workouts, he called off Bertrando's Sunday exercise.
A.P. Indy is stabled at Hollywood Park, and on Monday he worked six furlongs in 1:14 4/5, which trainer Neil Drysdale said was what he wanted. A.P. Indy will be vanned to Santa Anitatoday.
Because of Bertrando and A.P. Indy, only two or three other horses are expected in the race. A.P. Indy has won four in a row since he ran fourth in his first race, and Bertrando's only loss in five starts was his second-place finish behind Arazi in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
The smallest field in the 54-year history of the Santa Anita Derby was dominated by Knockdown, who beat four opponents at 1-2 odds in 1946. That was the first year the race was worth $100,000.
The other probables for Saturday are Fax News and Hickman Creek, third behind Bertrando in the San Felipe Stakes on March 15 and fourth, 10 1/4 lengths behind A.P. Indy, in the San Rafael two weeks before that. Casual Lies is a possibility, although his trainer, Shelley Riley, might not decide until race day. Her other option is the $300,000 California Derby on April 11 at Golden Gate Fields, where there will be no Bertrandos or A.P. Indys to beat.
The ranks of serious Kentucky Derby challengers thinned instead of growing on two fronts during the weekend, while at Oaklawn Park, in the Rebel Stakes, Pine Bluff prepared for the Arkansas Derby on April 18 with a comfortable victory against a weak field.
Lil E. Tee, winner of the roughly run Jim Beam at Turfway Park, also is headed for the Arkansas Derby after his trainer, Lynn Whiting, and jockey Pat Day gave Saturday's victory mixed reviews. The time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:53 2/5, almost seven seconds slower than Hansel's time last year. The last three-eighths of a mile was run in 41 2/5.
"I was in shock at the three-sixteenths pole when my horse didn't draw away," Whiting said. "Then I thought at the eighth pole that we were going to get dusted."
Lil E. Tee's problem is that when he makes the lead, he thinks the race is over. "He didn't put out," Day said. "He got the job done, but I know that he's capable of much better."
The shocker came the next day when Alydeed, winner of his only two starts and the 2-5 favorite, ran third, beaten by two lengths, in the What A Pleasure Stakes at Calder. Sir Pinder, who won the race, had been winless in five tries as a 3-year-old, and last year he won only once in seven starts, getting another victory through disqualification.
Roger Attfield, who trains Alydeed, made a late decision to skip the Jim Beam, and he had also backed away from plans to ship the colt to New York. At Calder, he came away puzzled.
"I suppose that you could say that he was a short horse, that the jump from six furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth with a month in between was the problem," Attfield said. "But it really didn't appear that he ran that way. It could be that with him being unseasoned, he simply didn't want the lead the whole trip. And if we were to run the race again, I wouldn't want him on the lead. But we really went into this with no plan, and about half-way through the race, while it was happening, it seemed like being on the lead was the right thing to do."
TRIPLE CROWN RATINGS
Horse S 1 2 3 Earnings 1.Arazi 8 7 1 0 $1,095,802 2.Bertrando 5 4 1 0 691,665 3.A.P. Indy 5 4 0 0 447,555 4.Technology 5 3 1 1 330,803 5.Dance Floor 10 4 4 0 618,859 6.Pine Bluff 8 3 1 2 379,988 7.Casual Lies 8 5 0 1 370,628 8.Pistols And Roses 9 5 2 2 596,046 9.Lil E. Tee 7 4 2 1 352,306 10.D.J. Cat 4 4 0 0 131,270
Advisory panel for The Times' Triple Crown Ratings: Lenny Hale, vice president for racing at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga; Frank (Jimmy) Kilroe, director of racing emeritus at Santa Anita; and Tommy Trotter, racing secretary at Hialeah.