Water Cannon can make noise in Tesio today

Win would be 5th straight

Preakness could follow

April 17, 2004|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Water Cannon enters the Federico Tesio Stakes today at Pimlico Race Course with a four-race winning streak and a chance to earn a spot in the Preakness.

"I hope he lives up to all the billing," said Linda Albert, his trainer. "It's not as easy as it has been. It's not supposed to be."

Water Cannon, a Maryland-bred son of Waquoit and Crying in the Rain, will face seven other 3-year-olds in the $100,000 Tesio, a 1 1/8 -mile test that often produces a starter in the Preakness. His main opposition appears to be a Michael Dickinson trainee and a filly.

The Dickinson-trained Paddington will make his first start since finishing second to Read the Footnotes in the Nashua Stakes in November at Aqueduct. A bruised foot has delayed his 3-year-old debut.

Once regarded as a Kentucky Derby prospect on a par with Tapit, Paddington - who won the Wood Memorial Stakes - is the 7-5 morning-line favorite. Water Cannon is 2-1 and Payne Princess, a filly trained by Jerry Robb, is 5-2. She has won two of three races - all against fillies - including her last one by 13 lengths.

Albert, who trains Water Cannon at Bowie, has ventured into unfamiliar territory with the gray gelding. She said she has never trained a 3-year-old stakes horse, let alone one on the verge of making the Preakness.

"We don't get up to these heights that often," Albert said. "I guess I'm not supposed to be this nervous for these kind of races."

Water Cannon has won four straight, including the Miracle Wood and Private Terms stakes, since starting to wear blinkers. Without them, he lost his first six races.

The co-feature at Pimlico will be the inaugural Jim McKay Breeders' Cup Handicap, a $150,000 stakes for older horses.

NOTES: ESPN2 will show the Tesio on tape delay in a one-hour broadcast starting at 6 p.m. featuring the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. Ramon Dominguez, who rode Water Cannon in his two stakes victories, will pilot Dashboard Drummer in the Lexington. Ryan Fogelsonger will ride Water Cannon at Pimlico. ... The final Magna 5 will take place today on races at Pimlico, Bay Meadows, Lone Star Park and Santa Anita Park. The wager on five races in one hour concludes after an inaugural run of 12 weeks.

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