Maryland might still have a runner in the Kentucky Derby.
Mrs. Allaire duPont of Chesapeake City has not ruled out sending her colt Tank to the Louisville race on May 4.
The horse will stay at Laurel, where he is currently stabled, at least through next week and then go to Churchill Downs the week of the Derby, if Mrs. duPont gives the go-ahead. He is scheduled to work at Laurel next Wednesday.
"We will only go if we think we have a shot to do really well," said Ben Perkins Jr., the horse's trainer. "We're going to look at it as realistically as possible. This isn't as big a thing for Mrs. duPont as it might be for someone else. She really loves her horses and only wants to do what's best for them."
The Kentucky Derby, at 10 furlongs, is considered a grueling race because of the distance and because it usually attracts a large, bulky field.
"We're going to take a good look at the Derby preps that are run this weekend -- the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn -- and then see if there are any standouts," Perkins said. "Right now it looks like there are six or seven tough horses."
Perkins listed Dinard and Best Pal from California; Blue Grass TTC winner Strike The Gold; Jim Beam winner Hansel; Fly So Free and Meadow Star as the stiffest competition.
"You can't throw out Fly So Free just because he got beat in one race [the Blue Grass]," Perkins said. "And we'll have to see how Meadow Star [a filly] handles the colts in the Wood. Then there are a couple of horses in the Arkansas Derby that might be OK."
Tank, however, has several pluses. He is "fresh and real sound," Perkins said. He also appears quite capable of handling the 1 1/4 -mile Derby distance. The Maryland-bred colt, sired by Preakness winner Tank's Prospect, became a legitimate Derby possibility after a 7 1/2 -length victory last weekend in the Garden State Stakes.
At Pimlico yesterday, Rick Wilson, Tank's rider, escaped serious injury after a spill in the 10th race. Wilson fell off his mount, Nurse My Fire, after the horse appeared to hit the rail going into the first turn. Wilson was taken to Sinai Hospital, complaining of a back injury near his kidneys, according to a track official.
A hospital spokesman said last night that Wilson was treated and released and Perkins said that the 37-year-old jockey now appears to be OK.