Zito strikes gold with No. 3 draw

May 16, 1991|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Evening Sun Staff

Everybody's happy.

At least that was the sentiment trainers expressed today when post positions were drawn for the eight horses entered in Saturday's 116th running of the Preakness Stakes.

Said Nick Zito, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold, when his horse drew post No. 3: "Perfect."

"I see only good things for the Kentucky Derby champion," Zito said. Strike the Gold is listed by the track oddsmaker as the 9-5 favorite.

The gross Preakness purse is $665,800; the winner will earn $432,770. All of the jockeys riding in the race have experience in the Preakness, and five of them -- Pat Day, Chris McCarron, Alex Solis, Eddie Delahoussaye and Jorge Velasquez -- are former winners. The other three have hit the board at least once.

Ron McAnally trains Olympio, the horse experts see as having the best chance to upset Strike the Gold. Olympio, noted for his speed, drew an outside post at No. 7, to McAnally's delight.

"This way my jockey [Delahoussaye] can predict the pace," McAnally said. "If we drew the rail, we'd be committed to setting the pace."

The only glitch may be the weather. Forecasters are predicting a chance of rain. That could hold down attendance and hurt the chances of some of the horses that don't like running on wet tracks.

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