Go For Gin gets 2nd post, but early speed is nearby PREAKNESS 1994

May 20, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

When 10 horses were entered yesterday for the 119th Preakness, the luck of trainer Nick Zito and owners Bill Condren and Joe Cornacchia held up. They drew the No. 2 post with favored Go For Gin, their Kentucky Derby winner, whose tactical speed will be aided by an inside post.

But it's the blazing Silver Goblin, the gray grandson of Mr. Prospector, who could be the key horse. He drew the No. 4 gate and is expected to show his heels to the rest of the field.

"He'll get the lead and we'll be chasing him," is how Hugh Robertson, trainer of another front-runner, Polar Expedition, said the first part of the race will shape up.

Robertson has no doubt that the pace will be fast. His horse breaks from No. 8 and will immediately pursue Silver Goblin.

"Naturally, I'd rather be on the inside," Robertson said, admitting his 900-pound gelding is a one-dimensional front-runner. "My horse doesn't want to be rated. He just doesn't run well that way. We are not going to grab him and take back. You can't manhandle this horse. We'll let him run away from there."

The question is: Will Silver Goblin be able to carry his speed 1 3/16 miles, especially if he is pressured early by Polar Expedition and possibly Tabasco Cat?

The horse has faded up to distances of 1 1/8 miles, but will be racing for the second time with the anti-bleeding medication Lasix.

"No question that it [Lasix] helps," said his trainer, Kenny Smith, who said he felt more confident after Silver Goblin drew an inside post. "I'm sure the trainers of Go For Gin and Tabasco Cat wish they had drawn on the outside of us. This way they will try to lay off of me. Al's [owner Al Horton] wife told us not to come back if we didn't draw a 2-3-4 post."

Even if Silver Goblin fades in the long Pimlico stretch, his front-running efforts will dictate the strategy used by the riders on the other horses.

After Silver Goblin drew the No. 4 gate, Pimlico oddsmaker Clem Florio dropped his early odds on Silver Goblin from 10-1 to 6-1.

"This horse has been on his hind legs every day since he's been here," Florio said. "If there was ever a horse screaming to run, it's this one. Now, he's drawn an excellent post."

Zito, however, didn't sound concerned about how Silver Goblin's rush to the front might affect Go For Gin.

"The way the race shapes up, we'll be able to watch what happens in front of us," Zito said. "We'll be right on his [Silver Goblin's] heels, if we're not in front ourself."

But even the best-laid plans can go awry, as they did in the Kentucky Derby, when expected pacesetter Holy Bull broke slowly from the gate.

"I'm sure if [Chris] McCarron wanted, he could get to the lead with Go For Gin. But we'll probably be where we were in the Preview," Zito said, referring to the Preview Stakes at Gulfstream Park, which Go For Gin won after coming from about a half-length off the pace and going to the front after six furlongs.

The two horses apparently hurt at the draw were Numerous, who drew the extreme outside post, and Tabasco Cat, who drew the rail.

"I wouldn't have picked this spot," said Numerous' trainer, Charlie Whittingham. "But I've seen them win from breaking farther out. The problem here is that the outside of the track is looser than the inside."

After Numerous drew No. 10, Florio raised his odds from 9-2 to 6-1.

Tabasco Cat trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has won the Preakness twice, said: "If I had 10 choices, drawing the rail would have been my 10th choice. I never like the one hole, but I'm glad to have Chris McCarron [on Go For Gin] next to me.

"You lose all your options [from the rail] in that, if you don't break sharply, the field has a tendency to drift down," Lukas said. "If you get away good, it's the shortest way around. But more than likely with the kind of speed that's in this race, three or four horses are going to drop over."

Tabasco Cat broke from the No. 9 post in the Kentucky Derby and got off slowly after being forced into Brocco at the start. That might have disoriented him; he finished sixth as the third choice.

For closers such as the Robert Meyerhoff-owned pair of Concern and Looming, Blumin Affair, Kandaly and Powis Castle, the post draw was uneventful.

"Nugatory," said Andrea Seefeldt, the rider on Looming, who coined the word. She said it means that the No. 9 post her horse drew "doesn't matter."

With 10 horses in the race, the Preakness purse is $688,800. The winner will earn $447,720.

Shiprock, the Philadelphia Park-based horse that was scheduled to become the 11th starter, was not entered.

"His trainer [Steve Rowan] called and said that he wanted to work the horse yesterday, but that the gelding's ankle was filled. So he didn't enter," said Pimlico/Laurel racing secretary Tommy Baker.

PREAKNESS FACTS

When: Tomorrow, 5:32 p.m. post time

Where: Pimlico Race Course

Distance: 1 3/16 miles

Purse: $500,000-added

TV: Channels 13, 7, 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m.

Gates open: 8:30 a.m.

Tickets: Infield -- $15 in advance, $20 at gate; admission to grandstand -- $12 at gate. Reserved seating sold out.

LINEUP

PP... Horse

1 ... Tabasco Cat

2 ... Go For Gin

3 ... Concern

4 ... Silver Goblin

5 ... Powis Castle

6 ... Blumin Affair

7 ... Kandaly

8 ... Polar Expedition

9 ... Looming

10 .. Numerous

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