A couple of hours after Saturday's 121st running of the Preakness, in the shedrow of the Pimlico stakes barn, Pat Day sneaked up to D. Wayne Lukas and grabbed him from behind.
As Lukas recalled yesterday morning, Day said: "Throw me a bone."
Lukas replied: "How about a filet mignon?"
And so the Day-Lukas controversy, the story line of this year's Preakness -- the jockey and the trainer who spurned him -- concluded on an amiable note. Day will ride for Lukas again, and Lukas will continue to praise the Hall of Fame rider, as he did yesterday.
"He's got the ability to relax a horse like Shoemaker did," Lukas said, comparing Day to the renowned Bill Shoemaker. "Pat's probably the best in the country at that."
Despite such praise, Lukas fired Day after the Kentucky Derby. After Day rode Prince of Thieves to a third-place Derby finish and after Derby winner Grindstone was retired because of a knee injury, Lukas replaced Day with Grindstone's jockey, Jerry Bailey. Day promptly gained the mount on Louis Quatorze.
After Day "relaxed" 8-1 Louis Quatorze to a 3 1/4 -length victory in the Preakness in record-tying time, he and Lukas met in the shedrow, exchanged pleasantries and departed Baltimore with another meeting scheduled June 8 in the Belmont Stakes.
Day again will ride Louis Quatorze for trainer Nick Zito, and Lukas will saddle two of his three Preakness horses: Prince of Thieves and Editor's Note.
Six of the 12 Preakness starters may race in the Belmont, the third jewel of the Triple Crown. In addition to the three from Lukas and Zito -- America's premier trainers of Triple Crown champions -- Preakness runner-up Skip Away and beaten favorite Cavonnier are possible entrants.
So, too, is Feather Box, the last-place finisher in the Preakness.
And the name Unbridled's Song surfaced yesterday as a possible starter in the Belmont. He ran fifth in the Kentucky Derby and then skipped the Preakness because of a foot injury.
The Unbridled colt worked five-eighths of a mile yesterday at Belmont Park in a speedy 58 1/5 seconds. His trainer, Jim Ryerson, said Sunday's Peter Pan Stakes or Memorial Day's Metropolitan Mile -- both at Belmont -- are possibilities.
Depending on the colt's coming workouts and his performance in one of these races -- should he compete -- Ryerson said a decision would be made about the Belmont.
In Baltimore, before leaving for his barn at New Jersey's Monmouth Park, Sonny Hine, the trainer of Skip Away, said the Skip Trial colt was "50-50, maybe 40-60" for the Belmont.
"If the horse is half as tired as me, he needs a rest," Hine said. "We'll give him a little break, then make a last-minute decision."
Hine and his wife, Carolyn, the owner of Skip Away, blamed his outside post position, No. 11 in a field of 12, for his defeat. Two weeks earlier, Skip Away broke from the 16 post in the Kentucky Derby and finished 12th.
Carolyn Hine is a native of Highlandtown, and Sonny Hine trained horses in Maryland for nearly three decades. They now live in southern Florida.
Asked whether she had enjoyed her visit, Carolyn Hine said: "I enjoyed it, but I wanted to win this race. Of all the races, this is the one I wanted, because I'm a Baltimorean."
After finishing fourth in the Preakness as the 8-5 favorite, Cavonnier shipped to Belmont yesterday, but with no guarantee of running in the Belmont Stakes.
"He'll train for a while," said his trainer, Bob Baffert. "If it looks like he likes the surface, we'll run in the Belmont. If he doesn't, we'll take him back home."
The California-bred gelding was the bettors' choice in the Preakness because of his narrow loss to Grindstone in the Kentucky Derby. Despite Cavonnier's fourth-place finish Saturday, his trainer, Bob Baffert, continued cracking jokes: "That second in the Derby's looking pretty good now."
Baffert said that Louis Quatorze ran "unbelievable" and that his own horse either didn't take to the Pimlico track or didn't bounce back from his strenuous run in the Derby.
"When they turned for home [in the Preakness] and I saw where my horse was, I said, 'Houston, we have a problem here,' " Baffert said. "But then I saw him come running. He's the only horse that passed anybody down the stretch."
Cavonnier did not threaten Louis Quatorze, who led virtually every step of the race. His was the first wire-to-wire Preakness win since Aloma's Ruler in 1982. And his time of 1 minute, 53 2/5 seconds tied the Preakness record set by Tank's Prospect in 1985.
It was Zito's first Preakness win in six tries -- and Day's fifth Preakness victory, including the last three in a row. No other jockey has won three straight Preaknesses.
Day thanked God. And he expressed no animosity toward Lukas for bumping him off Prince of Thieves.
"There's no feeling of vengeance," Day said after the race. "I feel in my heart . . . this is what God intended."
Zito said he couldn't wait to get back to New York, his base, and prepare for the Belmont.