First two-filly Preakness since 1921 is taking shape

Baffert says he'll enter Silverbulletday, `Meeting'

May 09, 1999|By Tom Keyser and Kent Baker | Tom Keyser and Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The field for the 124th Preakness Stakes next Saturday at Pimlico could feature two fillies -- the first time since 1921 more than one filly has contested the race.

Bob Baffert said yesterday that he plans on entering Silverbulletday and Excellent Meeting in the Preakness. He had said earlier he was considering Silverbulletday, but not Excellent Meeting.

Silverbulletday has never run against males. Against fillies, she has won 10 of 11 races, including the Kentucky Oaks April 30 at Churchill Downs.

Excellent Meeting tested males for the first time in the Kentucky Derby. She finished fifth, a mere 2 1/4 lengths behind the surprise winner, Charismatic.

"They deserve a chance," Baffert said of his fillies. "Excellent Meeting showed it in the Derby. She had probably the worst trip of any horse in the race. She could have easily won. She came out of the race unbelievable.

"Silverbulletday had a very easy race in the Kentucky Oaks. You hate to run them against each other, but it's going to be a great race."

Baffert also said that Prime Timber, fifth in the Derby, would not run in the Preakness. He will run, instead, in the Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness undercard, the trainer said.

"We're going to give him a little confidence-builder," Baffert said. "If we're going to run him in the Belmont, we can't just sit on him."

Baffert said he would also enter Silverbulletday and Excellent Meeting in the fillies-only Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday, the day before the Preakness, "in case the draw is unfavorable to us. But our plan is to run both fillies in the Preakness."

Four fillies have won the race for 3-year-olds -- but none since Nellie Morse in 1924. Rhine Maiden won in 1915, Whimsical in 1906 and Flocarline in 1903. Fifty-one fillies have competed in the Preakness.

Baffert said he plans on breezing the fillies tomorrow or Tuesday at Churchill Downs, and then flying them to Baltimore Tuesday or Wednesday.

All the other Preakness horses who haven't yet arrived are due Wednesday. Valhol, First American and trainer Nick Zito's pair of Stephen Got Even and Adonis are the only four Preakness horses in the Pimlico stakes barn.

Zito said his horses, who arrived Friday from Churchill Downs, will work at Pimlico tomorrow or Tuesday.

"We came up here early because it has worked for us in the past," Zito said. "Three years ago, we came with three horses, and all three won their races." In 1996, Star Standard won the Pimlico Special, Saratoga Dandy the Sir Barton and Louis Quatorze the Preakness.

Zito said his Preakness duo never got a chance to run in the trouble-filled Derby.

"But what are you going to do?" he said. "You go on to the next one -- the Preakness. It's an easy game plan."

Lukas happy with pair

D. Wayne Lukas said by phone from Santa Anita Park that his Preakness pair of Charismatic and Cat Thief, first and third in the Derby, are thriving at Churchill Downs.

"I can't believe how well they're doing, especially the winner," Lukas said. "He's really getting the wake-up call. I said last week that he seemed to be exploding, and he's still doing that."

Vicar isn't certain

Ian Wilkes, assistant to trainer Carl Nafzger, said Vicar will probably breeze Tuesday at Churchill Downs. After that? Wilkes said Vicar's trip to Pimlico is "not 100-percent definite, but he's doing OK."

Vicar won the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, but then finished third in the Blue Grass Stakes and 18th in the Derby after a rough trip.

Erlton wins Jacobs

In the secondary feature yesterday at Pimlico, the $75,000 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes, long-shot Erlton took advantage of a blistering duel to come from behind for a 1 1/4-length score over another outsider, Jeanies Rob.

Rated nicely while favored Texas Glitter and Jeanies Rob battled through 22 3/5 and 45 1/5 fractions, Erlton seized the lead after five furlongs and won with a drive while Jeanies Rob gamely held on to the place over late-running Jovial Brush.

Texas Glitter backed up after the eighth pole and finished fifth.

The winning time for six furlongs was 1: 10 3/5.

"We had a perfect trip," said jockey Rick Wilson. "When Texas Glitter gets pressed, he folds, and I thought that one horse [Jeanies Rob] would go out with him. It worked out beautifully. It really set up beautifully for us."

From the Ben Perkins barn, Erlton is now 7-for-10 lifetime, with earnings of more than $250,000.

"That was a very impressive race," said assistant trainer Kelly Breen. "He's an awfully fast horse and we've been trying to get him to rate a little. Texas Glitter beat us in Florida, but that was Erlton's first start of the year."

Preakness update

Tentative field for 124th Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico:

Horse, Earnings

Silverbulletday, $2,091,750

Charismatic, $1,278,064

Excellent Meeting, $1,193,824

Cat Thief, $800,112

Vicar, $745,756

Menifee, $722,000

Kimberlite Pipe, $520,583

Stephen Got Even, $494,800

Adonis, $413,640

Worldly Manner, $250,104

First American, $222,777

Badge, $222,630

Torrid Sand, $141,400

Patience Game, $117,776

Tentatively excluded (Field limited to 14 based on earnings):

Lead Em Home, $95,487

Valhol, $44,100

Pub Date: 5/09/99

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