`Eagle,' Marciano coming in Saturday

Area hopes of an upset to ship in from Delaware on day of the race

Preakness notebook

Horse Racing

May 16, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

They will remain on the relatively serene grounds of Delaware Park, shipping to Pimlico only a few hours before the Preakness.

Then, down I-95 and the Beltway, both will carry the area's hopes of upsetting Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos and the other big-name rivals over a track that has brought them victory.

"Maybe we should share a van ride and save the owners some money," said H. Graham Motion, trainer of Lazy Lane Farms' Bay Eagle, whose win in Baltimore came March 31 in the Private Terms Stakes.

In that race, he nudged Marciano, the other Preakness long shot coming in Saturday, by a neck for second after finishing 3 1/4 lengths behind him in the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel in January.

Marciano, the aptly named son of Two Punch, earned his shot by shocking Burning Roma and Kentucky Derby runner Talk Is Money in Maryland's Triple Crown prep race, the Federico Tesio on April 21.

Trainer Tim Ritchey scratched Marciano from a Delaware stakes he won with Citiroyal, but said the Preakness was always the plan for the grey/roan colt owned by Win More Stable.

"No matter what he does in the Preakness, I think his best is ahead of him [Marciano is a May foal], late in his 3-year-old year and possibly at 4. And I think of the three Triple Crown races, the Preakness [1 3/16 miles, the shortest] is the best distance for this particular horse."

Marciano is 5-for-11 lifetime with earnings of $237,500. He has two wins and two seconds in five outings this year, finishing fourth in his only graded-stakes effort, the Gotham at Aqueduct two months ago.

Ritchey said there will be no more serious works for his charge, who is galloping daily at Delaware.

Bay Eagle in position

Speedball Richly Blended almost assuredly will supply an honest pace (and perhaps another torrid pace as in Kentucky), and Motion feels Bay Eagle can benefit from the added distance with his late-striking style.

"Part of the reason we're going is this horse is crying out to run farther," Motion said. "In the Lexington, he was going a mile and a sixteenth at a speed-favoring track and had a troubled trip. There was not a good pace."

Richly Blended gallops

Richly Blended, who is expected to set the early fractions, galloped 1 1/2 miles yesterday and is scheduled to breeze this morning in his final Preakness preparation.

The distance is likely to be four furlongs as Richly Blended prepares for only his second race around two turns. In the first, he was third behind Congaree and Monarchos in the Wood Memorial.

Mr. John breezed four furlongs in 48 2/5 seconds yesterday at Churchill Downs and will be on the charter that carries Point Given, Congaree and Dollar Bill to Baltimore today.

Et cetera

The Preakness post position draw will be held at the ESPN Zone at 5 p.m. today. The draft-style format allows entrants to choose their positions rather than be automatically slotted with the position number they draw. ... The weeklong stakes program begins today with the $75,000 guaranteed Hilltop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. ...

Television Games Network will broadcast the entire Pimlico card Friday, including the Grade II Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. Coverage will begin at 12:30 p.m. The network also is planning to air three undercard stakes on Preakness Day, including the Grade II Dixie Handicap, starting at 10:30 a.m.

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