Baffert horses could bow out of Preakness

After 2 straight wins here, trainer might not run `Timber,' Silverbulletday


May 08, 1999|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

A Preakness without Bob Baffert?

That seems almost unthinkable after Baffert trainees Silver Charm and Real Quiet captured the last two runnings of the Triple Crown's middle jewel. But it's a real possibility in the aftermath of the disappointing, 4-5-11 finishes of his three Kentucky Derby entries.

General Challenge (11th) was shipped home to California. Excellent Meeting (fifth) will stay in Kentucky. Prime Timber is at Churchill Downs, but still on the fence. And the outstanding filly, Silverbulletday, will come here with a rider, but isn't certain to run.

Baffert will wait until workouts Monday in Kentucky before deciding the agenda of Prime Timber, who raced wide with a host of others in the Derby before rallying for fourth money.

"He wasn't eating for three or four days, but did yesterday. He feels good now," Baffert said. "The work will pretty much determine whether he comes or not."

Silverbulletday, the Kentucky Oaks winner, is definitely headed for Pimlico, but is not definitely a Preakness starter.

"I'll let fate determine whether we need to run her in the Preakness," Baffert said. "She will be cross-entered in the Black-Eyed Susan. It pretty much depends on where she draws whether she runs in the Preakness. If I don't like the post, she'll go in the other race."

He indicated the extreme outside or the rail would not be favorable positions for Silverbulletday. A full field of 14 will not make the determination.

Baffert would have liked to run Excellent Meeting in either race, but was overruled by owner John Mabee (Golden Eagle Farm), who wants "to freshen her up. I think she could win the Preakness."

Valhol adjusting to track

Valhol galloped yesterday morning under the eye of trainer Dallas Keen for the first time since arriving Wednesday.

Keen said the Diazo gelding was "feeling good and getting hold of the track good. He wanted to play all around. He liked the surface out there.

"I'm hoping to get Laffit Pincay to ride him. I wanted him for Kentucky, but it wasn't possible under the circumstances," Keen said.

The impact of his disqualification from the Arkansas Derby victory is still not known because of pending reviews by racing commissions here and in Arkansas and possible appeals. The Arkansas hearing will be held Wednesday.

"I really don't know how it will come out," Keen said. "My job is to take care of the horse. I want to run in the Preakness, but if that's not possible, we'll go ahead and run him in the Sir Barton [a Preakness Day stakes]."

` Hooked' wins Miss Preakness

Hookedonthefeelin, one of the outstanding fillies in Baffert's entourage, returned from a 10-month layoff with a 4 1/2-length victory over local runner Silent Valay in the $100,000 Miss Preakness Stakes yesterday.

The Maryland-bred filly completed six furlongs in a modest 1: 11 1/5 and had the race all to herself after an early challenge from Paula's Girl and an early stretch rush by Silent Valay.

Et cetera

The two Nick Zito trainees, Stephen Got Even and Adonis, arrived yesterday afternoon after a 12-hour van trip from Kentucky. Both had rough trips in the Kentucky Derby, finishing 14th and 17th, respectively. "I've never had horses come up to a race so well and get nothing," Zito said. "But both came out of it all right. I have to say we were lucky." Trainer Carl Nafzger confirmed Vicar as a Preakness starter, but he will not have Shane Sellers aboard, as in the Derby. Sellers is committed to ride Kimberlite Pipe here.

Pub Date: 5/08/99

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