TRAINER: Bohannan goes along for ride on Bayou's 'most honest' effort

May 16, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

What trainer Tom Bohannan likes most about Prairie Bayou is the horse's honesty.

That's honesty, as in an honest day's work. And that was what Prairie Bayou gave yesterday in winning the Preakness.

"He's a very nice horse," Bohannan said of Prairie Bayou, one of six geldings to win the Preakness and the first since Holiday in 1914. "How good, only time will tell. He's the most honest 3-year-old of all this year. The horse tries hard all the time."

Bohannan, who won the Preakness last year with Pine Bluff, is the first trainer to win back-to-back Preaknesses since Jimmy Jones. Jones won with Faultless in 1947 and Citation the following year.

"It's very flattering to be compared with Mr. Jones," Bohannan said. "It was a big thrill to win last year, my biggest. To duplicate it makes it even better."

Asked what was the difference between the Prairie Bayou yesterday and the Prairie Bayou who was second in the Kentucky Derby, Bohannan smiled and said, "Two and a half lengths."

A few days ago, at the Preakness Alibi Breakfast, Bohannan was talking about Prairie Bayou's ride in the Derby.

"We had to run a sixteenth of a mile farther than anybody else," he said. "I don't know if that would have made much difference between winning and losing. But I would have liked to have seen what would have happened if we had had a better trip."

Yesterday he explained, "We were forced to go wide in the Derby. There were a bunch of horses in front of him. Calling it a sixteenth of a mile farther may be an exaggeration, but he did have to go farther."

Bohannan was born 37 years ago in Mobile, Ala., far from horse country. But the family moved to Kentucky before he started school. It was in Lexington that he became exposed to horses.

He started as a hot walker, then became a groom, foreman and eventually an assistant trainer. Bohannan was named Loblolly Stables' private trainer in 1989.

Last year he enjoyed enormous success with Loblolly's Pine Bluff. Pine Bluff won the Arkansas Derby and was fifth in the Kentucky Derby before capturing the Preakness and finishing third in the Belmont Stakes.

Throughout the winter and this spring, Bohannan could look down his shedrow and see such fine runners as Dalhart, Marked Tree, Zimmerman, Dry Bean and Ozan. And then there was Prairie Bayou, the standout in the bunch.

"Any time you train for an owner like Mr. [John Ed] Anthony, you have to feel fortunate," Bohannan said. "He buys, raises and breeds quality horses."

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