Two new starters, Careful Gesture and My Luck Runs North, joined the burgeoning Preakness field yesterday, making life a bit complicated for Canadian trainer Roger Attfield.
Attfield conditions Alydeed, the highly regarded but lightly raced grandson of Nijinsky II. Alydeed won the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs, but Attfield skipped the Derby with the intention of running the colt in the Preakness.
Now, it looks as if Alydeed could get bumped from the Preakness and instead be running Saturday in the Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park in Cicero, Ill.
Attfield is concerned that Alydeed might be dropped from the Preakness lineup because he has only $120,252 in earnings.
The Preakness picture became even fuzzier later yesterday, when Dixie Brass won the Withers Stakes at Belmont Park in stakes record time (1 minute, 33 3/5 seconds), taking a fifth of a second off Dr. Fager's record for the mile.
The horse's trainer, Dennis Brida, told reporters in New York after the race, "We've got a whole lot of options [for Dixie Brass]. The Preakness is one."
In a list prepared by Pimlico officials yesterday that includes Dixie Brass' updated earnings, Alydeed ranks 16th in total winnings out of 20 possible Preakness runners.
Because only 14 horses can start the race, two will have to be eliminated, but quickly, Attfield said.
"I was going to leave here [Woodbine Race Course in Toronto] on Sunday, then work the colt Wednesday at Pimlico," Attfield said. "But I hate to go there for a week and not run."
Instead, Attfield said he is prepared to ship the horse to Sportsman's Park today.
Attfield said he planned to talk to the horse's owners (Kinghaven Farms) last night and have a decision by this morning.
A.P. Indy, Big Sur, Dixie Brass and D.J. Cat rank ahead of Alydeed, but are considered "iffy" Preakness starters.
A.P. Indy, who bruised a left front foot and was scratched before the Kentucky Derby, is on the recovery trail. He works at Churchill Downs this morning and his trainer, Neil Drysdale, will then inform Pimlico officials about his Preakness status, said Damon Thayer, director of media relations at Pimlico.
Big Sur, who finished second in the Withers, is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, who is at Pimlico with Pimlico Special starter Twilight Agenda.
Lukas indicated yesterday that W.T. Young, Big Sur's owner, wants to run the horse in the Preakness, "so we are considering it," Lukas said.
NOTES: A field of seven is expected to be entered today for the $700,000 Pimlico Special. Best Pal heads the lineup, which also includes Twilight Agenda, Defensive Play, Strike the Gold, Ibero, Fly So Free and Valley Crossing. The winner will earn $420,000. . . . Fly So Free blows out for the Pimlico Special this morning and will be ridden in the workout by Jose Santos.