Workouts hint at fast early pace

May 16, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

The Preakness pacesetters, Silver Goblin and Polar Expedition, flexed their muscles at Pimlico Race Course yesterday, zipping around the track like equine qualifiers at the Indy 500.

The two Midwest geldings are established front-runners. On the basis of their moves yesterday, it's going to be a quick early pace in Saturday's race when they vie for the lead.

Silver Goblin astonished onlookers when he drilled six furlongs in 1 minute, 10 1/5 seconds, after completing five furlongs in 57 1/5 seconds. That time was two-fifths of a second faster than the one that electrified railbirds in 1990, when Pleasant Tap worked before the Preakness. Pleasant Tap didn't make it to the race. He strained his tendon during the work.

"I told the rider [Jesse Vega] to let him go," said trainer Kenny Smith. "But I didn't think he would get over the track that fast. They've been running stakes in 1:11 and change. But the rider was just sitting on him. It was more of a breeze. Everybody knows he has a lot of speed."

About two hours earlier, Polar Expedition also had worked six furlongs, posting the excellent time of 1:12 1/5.

"He worked a little faster than I really wanted him to," said trainer Hugh Robertson. "But it looked like he did it pretty much in hand. He didn't look like he was going that fast. I was surprised when they told me the time. I was expecting maybe he'd go in 1:14."

Silver Goblin put together a six-race winning streak at Remington Park in Oklahoma City last fall and earlier this year. He subsequently finished third in the Remington Park and Arkansas derbies.

Polar Expedition went wire-to-wire to win the Jim Beam Stakes April 2 at Turfway Park before floundering in the slop and finishing last in the Illinois Derby.

Go For Gin works today

Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin is expected to have his first speed workout over the Pimlico strip at 6:30 this morning.

He will have exercise rider Jose Cuevas aboard.

Trainer Nick Zito said the work is not expected to be as quick as the ones turned in yesterday by Silver Goblin and Polar Expedition.

"You're not going to see me work a horse fast on this track," Zito said. "He's not a gigantic horse; he's a gritty horse. You have to be very careful not to overtrain. I want to make sure the tank's not empty."

Zito sees the Preakness shaping up differently than the Derby. The absence of Holy Bull and Brocco is not going to work to his advantage, he said.

"It changes the complexion of the race," Zito said. "The new players could make it difficult. I think the horse to beat is Numerous and, of course, Blumin Affair."

Numerous won the Derby Trial, then bypassed the Kentucky Derby. He is trained by Charlie Whittingham.

Blumin Affair finished third in the Derby.

Shiprock may be added to lineup

Trainer Steve Rowan said yesterday that there is a good chance that he will run Shiprock, who was third behind Irgun and Go For Gin in the Wood Memorial April 16, in the Preakness. The addition of the horse, who is stabled at Philadelphia Park, could bring the starting field to as many as 13 runners.

Considered as possible starters are likely favorite Go For Gin, Blumin Affair, Tabasco Cat, Numerous, Polar Expedition, the Dick Small-trained entry of Concern and Looming, Powis Castle, Silver Goblin, Kandaly, Smilin Singin Sam, Shiprock and Ulises.

Vet team arrives tomorrow

George Mundy, chief veterinarian for the Kentucky Racing Commission, and one of his associates will arrive at Pimlico tomorrow to begin supervising vet inspections of the Preakness starters.

They will work with the Maryland Racing Commission veterinary team, headed by David Zipf and his colleagues, Patricia Brackett and Forrest Peacock.

The inspection program is similar to the one that Mundy instituted last fall for the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park and at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. The inspections of the horses are carried out daily and logged into a computer bank. Any horse with a soundness problem could be withdrawn.

The program was put into effect after several horses broke down in recent runnings of the Breeders' Cup Sprint and last year's Triple Crown.

Since the program began last November, there have been no serious injuries in the races.

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