Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin has been installed as the 2-1 favorite in Saturday's Preakness by Clem Florio, Pimlico Race Course oddsmaker.
Listed as second choice are Robert Meyerhoff's pair of Maryland-breds, Concern and Looming, at 7-2 odds, followed by Derby Trial winner, Numerous, 9-2, Blumin Affair and Tabasco Cat, 8-1, Silver Goblin, 10-1 and Kandaly, Polar Expedition and Powis Castle, 20-1. The longest shot in the 11-horse field is Shiprock at 30-1 odds.
Florio said he thinks Go For Gin "is a shave and haircut above the rest," but that Concern and Looming "are killers. Either one of these horses is tough by himself. They are fresh and their trainer, Dick Small, is popular in Maryland."
Florio said Numerous will attract a following because he is trained by Hall of Fame horseman, Charlie Whittingham, and that Blumin Affair "is a hard hitter."
Tabasco Cat, sixth in the Derby, "might not have liked the sloppy track and is eligible to improve. The one horse, I think, that might get more play than 10-1 is Silver Goblin," Florio said. "He has so much speed."
TC It would be a surprise, he added, if any of the rest of the field won the
Ulises, Takeitlikeaman out
The Preakness field lost two potential starters yesterday when the trainers of Ulises and Takeitlikeaman informed Pimlico officials that they would not run their horses in the race.
Ulises, who had problems loading into the gate at the Kentucky Derby and then finished last, missed a scheduled workout and schooling session at the gate at Belmont Park on Tuesday because of rain.
John Myers, trainer of Takeitlikeaman, said he regards the race as "a lottery. If I read it right, two horses [Silver Goblin and Polar Expedition] are going to go for the lead and die and then the rest are going to be coming on in the stretch. I could be right there and get nothing. It costs $10,000 to enter and they only pay back to fourth. So I don't want to beat my horse up to take that kind of chance."
Myers said he might run the horse instead in the Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness undercard.
Valenzuela rides Numerous
Pat Valenzuela, who won the 1989 Preakness on Sunday Silence, is replacing Eddie Delahoussaye on the Whittingham-trained Numerous.
Whittingham said that Delahoussaye has a flu-like condition that requires rest.
"The doctors told him not to ride," Whittingham said. "They want him to take off a week or so. He didn't feel well in Kentucky, and he missed some days in California recently."
Paradise Creek vs. Lure
The Early Times Dixie Handicap at Pimlico tomorrow will be a re-match between Paradise Creek and Lure, who finished 1-2, respectively, two weeks ago in the Early Times Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.
"If this race were the Washington D.C. International," said track owner Joe De Francis, "I'd say it might be one of the best Internationals ever run. Instead, we have this kind of race in the Dixie, which is overshadowed by the Preakness. But it's a great race. It's like last year's Dixie when Lure faced Star of Cozzene."
Lure won the Dixie last year and ended up being voted second best grass horse in the country behind Horse of the Year, Kotashaan.