Tong Po is out, Tank might be in.
The Kentucky Derby status of two Maryland-bred colts changed dramatically over the weekend.
Tong Po, who had been training forwardly at Aqueduct for Saturday's Wood Memorial, pulled up with a sore shin in his right foreleg after a routine gallop on Saturday and is definitely out of the Derby.
In fact, he's already back at Pimlico and is not expected to race again until the Saratoga, N.Y., meet in August.
Meanwhile, Tank, another Maryland-bred colt who was expected to bypass the Derby for the Preakness, now might go to Louisville after a 7 1/2 -length victory Saturday in the Garden State Stakes.
Tank's trainer, Ben Perkins Jr., says the horse deserves a shot in the Derby. But the ultimate decision rests with the colt's owner, Mrs. Richard duPont, who is undecided.
Leon Blusiewicz, the Baltimore trainer of Tong Po, said the colt had galloped strongly at Aqueduct on Friday and had come back well. "But when he went to the track Saturday, he was not quite on the bit when he warmed up, and the exercise boy said he just didn't feel right. When we jogged him back at the barn, we could see he was favoring his right fore shin."
Blusiewicz said the shin will be cooled out for about three weeks. It will then be pin-fired. After the leg has healed, the horse will swim for about three or four weeks. "He should be ready to breeze by the first part of July," Blusiewicz said. "I'll point him for the Travers at Saratoga [August 17], with the idea of prepping him for it in the Jim Dandy Stakes."
A decision on Tank's Derby status should be known by mid-week.