Anyone who expected Pat Day to show rancor at being yanked off one of the Preakness favorites, Prince of Thieves, doesn't know Pat Day.
Day, the jockey on the winning horse of the 121st Preakness, Louis Quatorze, and the whole gang involved with the horse were just delirious that things broke their way yesterday at Pimllico.
The win was Day's fifth Preakness victory in 11 tries, including three in a row. Imagine not wanting this guy on your horse heading to Baltimore from Louisville, Ky.
Of trainer D. Wayne Lukas' maneuver to replace Day on Prince of Thieves with Jerry Bailey, after Bailey lost derby winner Grindstone to an injury and retirement, Day replied, "I've been taken off horses plenty of times. It's happened to all of us. It's part of the game.
If there was a revenge motive in the man's heart, Day certainly wasn't about to unleash it: "He (Lukas) wanted to go with Jerry because he's hot right now. I don't blame him.
Besides, Day knew of Louis Quatorze, a consisdent colt until a 16th place showing in the Derby, knew of trainer Nick Zito's success.
After Day, 42, lost the ride one third-place Derby finisher Prince of Thieves, it took days of Zito and Day's agent playing phone tag before the deal was struck.
"They had a hard time making a connection because my agent doesn't have a phone, he has a beeper," Day said.
Zito said he was anxious during the "auditory negotiations," but he knew it was all worth it when he and Day got to talk for the first time, just a few hours before the race.
"He told me the first choice was (to take) the lead, the second choice was (to lay in) second place and the third was ( to lay in) third place." said Day.
After the horse in the next panel, Secreto de Estado, stumbled put of the gate, Day first had his charge jump clear, then raced out for the lead.
"He was moving easy under me, and we were having fun when Skip Away came up," said the jockey. "Louie's ears pricked up, I knew we were moving pretty fast and I knew they'd have a tough time getting past him.
The the winner of Seven Triple Crown races went philosophical:
"If I had rode Prince of Thieves, he would have lost and the guy aboard Louis Quatorze would have won," he said.
Not a soul listening believed him for a minute.
Five for Day
Jockey Pat Day's five Preakness victories:
Year .. .. .. .Horse
1985.. .. .. ..Tank's Prospect
1990.. .. .. ..Summer Squall
1994.. .. .. ..Tabasco Cat
1995.. .. .. ..Timber Country
1996.. .. .. ..Louis Quatorze
Pub date: 5/19/96