Nick Zito enlisted the support of Maryland jockeys agent Bobby Vaughn to help round up Kent Desormeaux yesterday as the Preakness rider for the Zito-trained Agincourt.
But, last night, Desormeaux's agent, Gene Short, said Desormeaux will be staying in California to ride at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Possible backup jockeys are Eddie Delahoussaye and Jacinto Vasquez.
Jorge Chavez was scheduled to ride Agincourt, but Zito said he wanted someone with more experience in the classic races.
* Pat Day was at Pimlico yesterday to work Derby winner Lil E. Tee a half-mile in 48 2/5 seconds, the colt's final speed drill for the race.
Lynn Whiting, Lil E. Tee's trainer, said: "I wanted him to go in around 48. The only thing I was concerned about before the work was that he would go off too fast. But he was nice and relaxed. The worst thing that could have happened would have been been if he had gone out there in 47."
Afterward, Day said he is optimistic about the Preakness. "It's going to be highly competitive, as it's been all year. Nobody has stood out head and shoulders above the crowd."
* Conte di Savoya dumped his rider, Walter Guerra, and then kicked him, after he finished working a half-mile in 49 seconds yesterday.
The incident occurred as the pony rider was picking the horse up at the gap. Conte di Savoya lunged at the pony, unseating Guerra.
"This is not your garden-variety horse," trainer LeRoy Jolley said. kind of a Peck's bad boy. If I had any hair left, I'd lose it training this colt."
Guerra was not seriously injured.
* Alydeed is probably the only Preakness starter who eats bananas.
"We winter the horses in Florida, and most everyone that works in the shed eats some kind of citrus fruit," said Tracy Attfield, wife of the horse's trainer, Roger Attfield.
Alydeed prefers his bananas peeled. He also eats oranges and grapefruit. "But only pink grapefruit," Tracy Attfield said.
The Attfields have been married seven years. Tracy Attfield is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in animal science. She galloped horses at Maryland tracks for the late Harrison Johnson and for Ron Alfano.
She said she misses Maryland, "But I like Canada a lot. We have a little 10-acre farm not far from Woodbine Race Course and raise miniature Shetland ponies and Sicilian donkeys."