Coronado's Quest is back on track Scratched at Preakness, colt returns for Riva Ridge

June 06, 1998|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Coronado's Quest, the pre-race Preakness favorite scratched because of a bruised foot, returns today in the Riva Ridge Stakes, a Grade II $125,000 seven-furlong sprint on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

Although the Riva Ridge is a far cry from the $1 million Belmont, the colt's owner, Stuart S. Janney III of Butler, Md., is pleased that he's healed, happy and apparently back in the hunt.

"I would have loved to run in the Belmont," Janney said. "But I think we're doing right by the horse bringing him back in this spot. There are going to be plenty of opportunities to show what kind of horse he is."

Janney and the colt's trainer, Shug McGaughey, said the tentative schedule for Coronado's Quest after the Riva Ridge is the Dwyer Stakes on July 12 at Belmont Park, Haskell Invitational on Aug. 9 at Monmouth Park and Travers on Aug. 29 at Saratoga. The ultimate goal is the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 7 at Churchill Downs.

A first for Jerkens?

For perhaps the first time -- records are incomplete on this -- a father and son will saddle horses in a Triple Crown race. Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, 69, and his son, James, 39, will start Limit Out and Thomas Jo, respectively, in the Belmont.

Both are long shots, but Allen Jerkens' horse will attract more wagers because the father is known as the "giant killer" for two upsets over Secretariat and three over Kelso. Yet his horse, Limit Out, despite impressive speed numbers, has never raced around two turns or farther than a mile.

Asked whether the horse was ready after only five races to face this caliber of competition, Jerkens, whose nickname is not "Good Interview," said: "I guess."

Then, asked whether he worries about Limit Out's ability to race 1 1/2 miles, Jerkens said: "Who doesn't?"

Speculation exists that Limit Out's owner, Joseph Shields, a trustee of the New York Racing Association, is the force behind the horse's running in the Belmont.

James Jerkens was more animated about Thomas Jo, who has won four straight, including the Federico Tesio and Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico. Since Team Valor, which campaigned Captain Bodgit, became an owner of Thomas Jo around the first of the year, the Texas-bred gelding is 4-for-4.

"He's been so consistent, and he does seem to get to horses with such ease," James Jerkens said. "If he's not good enough, he's not good enough. But I don't think we've seen the best of him."

Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor, said Thomas Jo is built and trained to race a long distance. Exuding confidence usually kept oneself, Irwin said of his horse's chances today: "We're going to shock the world."

First time on Lasix

Parade Ground will race on Lasix for the first time. He bled finishing third in the Peter Pan and may have bled slightly while finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby.

Earlier this spring Parade Ground was trainer Neil Howard's third-stringer behind Lil's Lad, who underwent surgery for removal of chips in both ankles, and Comic Strip, who apparently burned himself out on the Triple Crown trail.

Halory Hunter recovering

Halory Hunter, who severely broke an ankle at Pimlico training for the Preakness, is back at Nick Zito's barn here after surgery and a risky recovery at the New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania.

Halory Hunter was sound asleep on his side one morning this week when Zito took a visitor in to see the colt. His left front ankle healed so rapidly that it was wrapped in bandages, not a cast.

As Zito talked about how Halory Hunter's injury was a devastating blow, the colt woke up. Zito stepped into his stall and stroked and kissed his face.

The colt is walking and feeling fine, Zito said. Still, he said, "my feeling is we'll retire him." Halory Hunter will remain at Zito's barn until arrangements can be made, Zito said.

A clocker's view

James Escarcega, a clocker at Belmont Park, analyzed in yesterday's Daily Racing Form the six Belmont entrants he saw train. The highlights: Classic Cat: His workout Tuesday was a "decent work -- nothing more, nothing less."

Hanuman Highway: "Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong." A foot irritation from a high nail forced him out of the Peter Pan Stakes, his scheduled prep for the Belmont. "Don't be surprised to see this guy staggering home."

Parade Ground: "The good news is that he worked in good fashion for this race. The bad news is that he always works well and is earning a reputation as a 'morning glory.' "

Raffie's Majesty: "If there's one horse who can upset the apple cart, this is the one. You will not find a more beautiful-looking horse with a stride from here to Mars. He has trained better than any of the Belmont-based horses."

Victory Gallop: "When he arrived from Pimlico, he looked like a tired horse. Then came a skin rash. He looks like a horse to bet against."

Thomas Jo: "In the category of worst-looking Belmont horse, let's put this guy right on top. If he wins, I'll turn in my stopwatch and binoculars."

Pub Date: 6/06/98

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