LAUREL -- John Casey will start his day by shoeing a couple of horses at Charles Town Race Course.
Then he'll hook up his trailer, load his 3-year-old gelding, Coin Collector, and head down the highway from the West Virginia track to Laurel, where the 30-year-old blacksmith is running the likely favorite in today's $50,000-added Private Terms Stakes.
Just like multimillionaire owners Bayard Sharp, Alfred Vanderbilt and Israel Cohen, who all have horses entered in the race -- although the horses might not all run -- Casey is trying to get a line on his horse.
He has nominated the gelding to the Triple Crown, but that doesn't mean his goal is the Kentucky Derby, run in less than two months.
"If we run well today, we go to the $500,000 Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park [Ky.] March 28," he said. "If we just run average, we go to the $100,000 Cherry Hill Mile at Garden State Park also March 28."
Those Triple Crown preps, as well as a series of stakes in New York, are also options for other members of today's field.
Casey's long-range goal is the April 25 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico, a week before the Derby. "The Derby is all about prestige," he said. "I have a gelding and I'm avoiding the top horses. I'm running for the money."
Coin Collector has earned plenty of that for his young owner -- more than $100,000 in 10 starts last year. Casey might have the best two-horse stable in the country. His other horse, Nice Ainit, also won more than $100,000 last year. Both horses have started their 1992 campaigns with victories.
Casey relies on his older brother, Jimmy, a trainer at Laurel, for advice, but makes the final decisions. One of these is keeping Lillian "Mitch" Kuykendall, the leading jockey at Charles Town, on the horse.
"The mount is Mitch's until she messes up," Casey said.
Although Coin Collector won a handicap at Garden State Park two weeks ago in wire-to-wire style, Casey said the horse might not be on the lead today.
"There's a lot of speed in the race. Pie in Your Eye and Ameri Valay are going to be smoking," Casey said. "Our best shot might be to come from off the pace."
The success of Coin Collector has a been a big help to other members of Casey's family. His father, who trains a large string at Charles Town, stands the horse's sire, Weshaam. The elder Casey reported yesterday he already has a full book of 60 mares to the stallion, many of them shipping in from Maryland.
* Tomorrow's Conniver Handicap is billed as a rematch between Wood So and Wide Country, the 1-2 finishers in the recent Barbara Fritchie Handicap.
However, Katy Voss, trainer of Wood So, said her mare might not start.
"She's had two hard races, and I'm not sure yet whether or not we'll run, although we're entered," Voss said. "I might wait until tomorrow morning to decide, or even up until scratch time [one hour before the race]. If she comes back from the track in the morning and is a wild little woman, we'll go. If she's quiet, then we won't run. She went super yesterday, but there have been a couple of days recently when we've had our doubts."
Wood So picks up five pounds after her victory over Wide Country in the Barbara Fritchie and is weighted 1 pound below last year's Maryland-bred Horse of the Year.
NOTES: The Laurel stewards are planning to suspend trainer Vince Bracciale Jr. for 30 days after he had a fight on the parking lot Thursday with jockey Mark Johnston. Neither Bracciale nor Johnston would comment on the altercation yesterday. . . . The off-track betting bill passed a preliminary vote on the Senate floor yesterday and is expected to come up for a final Senate vote on Tuesday. . . . Trainer Ricky Sillaman is trying to pull off another stakes double. He runs Golden Phase in the Swift Stakes at Aqueduct today and Festive Feathers in the Private Terms at Laurel. . . . Jockey Mary Wiley, who severed a knee ligament in a training accident at Bowie seven months ago, is set to resume galloping horses. The injury required reconstructive surgery and several months of rehabilitation. "I still have to gallop a month or two before I'll be able to ride in races," she said.