STRIKE THE GOLD
* ODDS: 9-5
* POST POSITION: 3
* COLORS: Hot pink, blue star, blue band on sleeves, blue cap.
* TRAINER: Nick Zito has made no mistakes in preparing Strike the Gold for the Preakness. He rode up on the van with the horse, gave him a good work on Monday and has given him plenty of time to recuperate during the hot weather.
* JOCKEY: Chris Antley has also moved to the head of the class. The "Ant Man" has shown flashes of maturity since he won the Derby and has shown up on time in the mornings at Pimlico to be with the horse. Antley is trying.
* OWNERS: You can always tell which horse owners have "new money," says one reporter. They are the ones who show up in the longest, gaudiest limousines. That about describes the three successful businessmen -- Giles Brophy, William Condren, and Joseph Cornacchia -- who own Strike the Gold.
* COMMENTS: The locals describe this splay-footed son of Alydar as "Strike the Ground" instead of Strike the Gold, because of the crabby way of going he has when he first hits the track. But this horse has a heart of gold.
* ODDS: 2-1
* POST POSITION: 7
* COLORS: Maroon, white "VHW," white stripes on sleeves, maroon cap.
* TRAINER: Ron McAnally is best known as the trainer of John Henry. He is also the lone trainer in the field installed in racing's Hall of Fame. At age 58, McAnally is still trying for his first Preakness winner. This is his third attempt, and it's also his best chance so far for a victory.
* JOCKEY: Eddie Delahoussaye won the Preakness in 1988 with Secretariat's son, Risen Star. Delahoussaye is a California regular whose mounts earned more than $8 million last year. He finished 10th in the national standings in 1990.
* OWNER: If you like eating at Denny's, you might want to bet on this horse. His owner, Verne Winchell, was once president and CEO of the restaurant chain. Or was that Lenny's, Lenny's Lenny's . . .
* COMMENTS: One look at Olympio when he was training at Churchill Downs and this lowly scribe exclaimed: "There's the Preakness winner!" This is one fine horse, but will he be the victim of a speed duel?
* ODDS: 10-1
* POST POSITION: 4
* COLORS: Gold, green blocks, gold cap.
* TRAINER: Frank Brothers has been riding Hansel himself this week, trying to figure out why the horse ran so badly in the Derby, finishing 10th. Apparently, he found out. Brothers stuck the horse on a van Tuesday and sent him here from Chicago at the last minute.
* JOCKEY: Jerry Bailey inherited the mount on Hansel when Pat Day took off to ride Richman in pre-Triple Crown preps. Bailey finished third in the 1982 Preakness with Cut Away.
* OWNER: Joe Albritton once owned the defunct Washington Star. He also once served on the board of directors of Laurel Race Course during the era of John Schapiro ownership. Albritton, who lives in Potomac, is in the midst of building a racing and breeding empire.
* COMMENTS: There will be support in this race for handsome Hansel. There has been a pattern of beaten Kentucky Derby favorites improving their poor Derby showing at Pimlico. Brothers can only hope the colt lives up to his looks.
* ODDS: 5-2
* POST POSITION: 5
* COLORS: Burgundy, gold eagle, gold sleeves, burgundy and gold cap.
* TRAINER: Ian Jory was nearly wrestled to the ground by guards after he tried to get on the track to see his horse after the Kentucky Derby. The 33-year-old Englishman does seem "incident prone." If Jory wins the Preakness, let's hope he doesn't drop the Woodlawn Vase on his foot.
* JOCKEY: Gary Stevens won the Pimlico Special last weekend with Farma Way. He has a chance to pull off a rare double if he wins the Preakness. But so far, the best he can do with "Pal" is finish second.
* OWNERS: Mr. & Mrs. John Mabee are true Mr. & Mrs. Horatio Alger types. They embody the American Dream, starting with nothing and earning a fortune in the grocery business. Of course, they need a fortune to feed the 600 horses they own.
* COMMENTS: Best Pal would become the first gelding since 1914 to win the Preakness. That is quite an historical footnote to overcome. But he's got tactical speed and seems to fit this track better than any of the other runners.
* ODDS: 12-1
* POST POSITION: 2
* COLORS: Gold, silver diamond, silver diamonds on sleeves, gold cap.
* TRAINER: Mexican-born Paco Gonzalez worked for trainer Joe Manzi in California for 25 years. When Manzi suffered a heart attack and died in 1989, Gonzalez took over some of his clients, including the owners of Mane Minister.
* JOCKEY: Alex Solis is 1-for-1 in the Preakness. He won five years ago with California-based Snow Chief. Solis is a nephew of Jacinto Vasquez and is a graduate of the Panamanian Jockey School.
* Owners: It would take a gold mine to keep 32 horses in training, and that's exactly what Canadian John Toffan once owned. He sold his mines to devote his time to horses. Trudy McCaffery, a show rider from Calgary, is co-owner of Mane Minister.