Ready, draw: Pimlico officials confident Track hoping to avoid Derby's post-draw mistakes

Preakness notebook

May 13, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Pimlico Race Course officials are taking precautions they believe will prevent a replay of the gaffe during the post-position draw for the Kentucky Derby.

"We're not going to let [ESPN racing commentator] Chris Lincoln touch the pills," joked Lenny Hale, the Maryland Jockey Club's vice president of racing, who will oversee the procedure.

"He's only going to say who's in what slot."

The draw will be televised at 5 p.m. today by ESPN.

At Churchill Downs, a mix-up in the selection process occurred when Lincoln misread a pill number, and Artax and Cape Town wound up as victims -- in unfavorable post positions.

"We're going to draw the old-fashioned way," said Hale. "What happened down there is not unusual. It just happened to be on national TV."

New Ravens quarterback Jim Harbaugh and paddock judge Mark Euga will participate in the process, respectively drawing the names of the entries and the pills, which will determine the order in which they will select their gates.

After a discussion period of at least 10 minutes, the agents will announce their selections.

"We're having a meeting this morning," said Hale. "And then we're having a rehearsal. Presumably, we won't have to do it twice."

Good work for Classic Cat

The only other horse to work over Pimlico's mucky track yesterday did not meet with the misfortune that befell Halory Hunter.

Classic Cat traveled five furlongs in 1 minute, 1 3/5 seconds under jockey Carlos Marquez, who said the colt "felt real good, consistent, even though the track was deep and sloppy.

"If you hadn't told me he had a quarter crack, I wouldn't have known it. If the track is like this for the Preakness, he's got a good chance."

Trainer David Cross also said he was pleased with the Lexington Stakes winner, who wears a "spoon shoe" to protect the quarter crack on his right rear foot.

Cross said the special shoe looks good so far and he is not worried about running him with the problem because "we run a lot of horses in California like that. At any given time, 60 percent of those running might have them."

The trainer said he feels no pressure.

"I just hope the horse runs good," he said. "Anything we get will be a bonus."

He said he had no thoughts of canceling the workout after Halory Hunter suffered a fractured fetlock.

"If the rider hadn't showed, I would have galloped him anyway," said Cross. "That [Marquez's appearance] was the deciding factor."

'Quest,' 'Wells' to work

The likely Preakness favorite, Coronado's Quest, will drill four or five furlongs at Belmont Park today, and Hot Wells is scheduled for a Pimlico workout.

"The track's a mess right now up here," assistant trainer Buzzy Tenney said from New York. "But the wind is blowing about 30 miles and hour, and it's supposed to be clearing up. It could be good by the time he works."

Tenney said an off track for the Preakness "is fine with us."

Owner Stuart Janney III sold a quarter interest in Coronado's Quest yesterday to Bob and Janice McNair of Stonerside Stables. Janney was unavailable for comment after the sale.

Hot Wells, fourth behind Victory Gallop in the Arkansas Derby, was set up for a workout by exercise rider-assistant trainer Maurice Sanchez.

He galloped 1 1/2 miles, "and I let him pick it up the last three-quarters of a mile," said Sanchez.

Black Cash is due to arrive this afternoon on the second of two charter flights from Louisville, Ky. He galloped yesterday.

"I might blow him out a little there on Friday," said trainer Patrick Byrne.

Sold out, but keep trying

If you don't have a seat for the Preakness yet, you may or may not be in luck.

"At this time, we are sold out," said Preakness ticket manager Fran Shaw. "But sometimes we do get tickets back before the race.

"The only thing I can advise people is to keep trying."

On Saturday, seats will be sold at the will-call gate.

Pub Date: 5/13/98

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