LOUISVILLE -- The Kentucky Derby horse that really seems to relish training at Churchill Downs is the California gelding Best Pal.
He's the "hot" horse early in the week. Yesterday he turned in a sizzling three-eighths mile work in 34 3/5 seconds under exercise rider Felipe Guerrera. He went out a half-mile in :46 3/5 and five-eighths in :59 2/5, before he was pulled up in 1:12 1/5 for six furlongs.
Trainer Ian Jory estimated the gelding carried 130 pounds, 4 more than he will carry in the Derby.
Best Pal, ridden by Gary Stevens, will be the speed in the Derby, along with Sea Cadet, ridden by Chris McCarron.
Sea Cadet arrived from Hollywood Park yesterday. He worked in California on Sunday under McCarron. Yesterday, he worked a mile in 1:37 4/5 and galloped out nine furlongs in 1:52 3/5.
"He went super," trainer Ron McAnally said. "Chris was impressed, but then he's always liked him."
McAnally said it was decided to send Sea Cadet to the Derby when Dinard was injured and withdrawn from the race.
As for his assessment of the field, McAnally said, "I don't believe Fly So Free is the horse to beat. I think it's between Hansel and Strike The Gold. Best Pal is like Sea Cadet, a question of distance."
* REPORT REPORT: Corporate Report, the Wayne Lukas runner that bruised his foot on Sunday, is out of danger and will make the Derby.
Lukas said, "We've got the situation pretty well stabilized. We've still got a pack on the foot, but it seems to be progressing."
The colt was feeling so good yesterday afternoon that Lukas had a hard time keeping him on the ground when he took him out to graze. Lukas had to bring the colt back in the barn and walk him under the shedrow.
Corporate Report finished second to Olympio in the Arkansas Derby.