With Pat Day up, second choice Potentiality led at every post and won the $150,000 Maryland Budweiser Breeders' Cup yesterday by a length over long shot Smart Alec.
"I was surprised to be on the lead, that the speed didn't develop," said Day. "We were there in moderate fractions. I stayed off the rail a little bit, because I kept thinking some speed would come."
It never did in the six-furlong event.
"He likes an off track, and that was definitely in our favor," said Potentiality's trainer, Bob Holthus. "It looked like he handled them pretty easily."
Smart Alec, at 14-1, was easily the best of the rest as Boom Towner, Shuttleman and Hidden Tomahawk, usually fleet out of the gate, broke sluggishly.
Boom Towner's trainer, John Lenzini, said "this time we held back and it backfired. The speed had been dying all day. They let him [Potentiality] have too easy a time of it."
The slight favorite, Sunny Sunrise, faded to sixth after cutting himself on the outside of the right hind leg, according to jockey Mike Smith.
"I wish we had been on the outside instead of inside," said Smith.
The going on the rail was tougher on a track rated good.
* Trainer Nick Zito warmed up for the Preakness by sending out Senator To Be for a repeat of his 1991 victory in the $50,000-added Never Bend Handicap.
Zito replied "absolutely" when asked if he'll return for the race next year. "And then we'll breed him in Maryland."
It was the second straight victory for Senator To Be, sent off at 7-1 odds in the 1 1/16-mile race.
Day was aboard for his second win of the card before the Preakness.
"My horse wasn't too interested early," he said. "We tucked in on the fence going around the first turn and going up the backstretch. We followed the field into the stretch and a hole opened up on the fence.
"I asked him to run in there and he was courageous enough to do it. He tightened up a bit, but he kept his head down, kept running and got the job done."
Senator To Be came from off the pace to overtake the favorite Fiftysevenette on the inside in the final eighth of a mile.
* Miss Legality "came back perfect," according to trainer Sonny Hine, after the filly won the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Friday.
She led wire-to-wire and won by 1 1/2 lengths.
Third-place finisher Diamond Duo bled profusely during the race, but still finished only two lengths off the pace.
Trainer Bill Donovan said he will give her several weeks off before deciding on her next race.
The surprise in the race was Known Feminist, a former $12,000 claim who ran second.
"She may not be much to look at, but she's all heart," said trainer Frannie Campitelli.
* Speakerphone, the first horse out of the gate and the leader for six furlongs, was the last horse to appear for the Preakness, arriving at Pimlico early yesterday morning from his training base in Laurel.