Barbaro gives Delp pause

Trainer says Derby winner has pace to win next two legs of Triple Crown

Notebook

May 17, 2006|By SANDRA MCKEE | SANDRA MCKEE,SUN REPORTER

Veteran trainer Bud Delp, who might have had a Triple Crown winner if Spectacular Bid hadn't stepped on a safety pin the morning of the 1979 Belmont Stakes, looks at the final quarter of Barbaro's Kentucky Derby run. He can't help but believe the 3-year-old is about to win the next two legs of the series.

"He ran that last quarter in 24.3," said Delp, 73. "That's really fast, and it was without urging. Usually, when a horse runs numbers like that, he's coming from out of the clouds, but Barbaro was up on the pace the entire trip."

Delp does see several questions that need answering: Can Barbaro, who has run two races in 13 weeks, come back just two weeks after the Derby in Saturday's 131st Preakness Stakes? And can he handle Brother Derek and Sweetnorthernsaint, two horses who had terrible trips in the Derby but whom Delp believes are the real deal?

"Barbaro didn't have too hard of a trip at the Derby," Delp said. "There was no whip and he finished easy. I think he hasn't been trained too hard and that he can come back, and I think if he wins the Preakness, the Belmont, with his breeding and the way he's built, is no question."

Starting field grows

Trainers for Greeley's Legacy and Platinum Couple decided to take the plunge yesterday and confirmed their horses will be entered in the Preakness.

"We have a lot of respect for Barbaro, Brother Derek and a couple of the other horses in there, but we want to take a shot," said George Weaver, who trains Greeley's Legacy, a son of Mr. Greeley. "We've got to step up to have a chance to win it, but we think he's ready to run a big one."

Trainer Glenn Lostritto said it was his son who pushed him into entering Platinum Couple, a son of Tale of the Cat.

"My son [Glenn] said to me, `If George Mason can do it, why can't we?' " Lostritto said, referring to the feel-good story of the NCAA basketball tournament, in which George Mason made the Final Four for the first time. "We breed a lot of our own horses ... You don't get a chance like this very often."

The two entries bring the Preakness field to nine. Trainer King Leatherbury has until noon tomorrow to decide if he will enter Ah Day, the Tesio Stakes winner.

Draw today

The Preakness draw will be held today from 5 to 6 p.m. at the ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor. It will be carried live on ESPN. At noon today in the Pimlico Race Course Racing Office, Maryland Racing Secretary Georganne Hale and Maryland Racing Commission executive director Mike Hopkins will conduct the draw for the post position selection order.

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Preakness starters

Confirmed

Horse Trainer Jockey Last start

Barbaro Michael Matz Edgar Prado Ky. Derby, won

Bernardini Tom Albertrani Javier Castellano Withers, won

Brother Derek Dan Hendricks Alex Solis Ky. Derby, 4th

Diabolical Steve Klesaris Ramon Dominguez allowance, won

Greeley's Legacy George Weaver TBA Lexington, 4th

Hemingway's Key Nick Zito Jeremy Rose Lexington, 8th

Like Now Kiaran McLaughlin Garrett Gomez Lexington, 2nd

Platinum Couple Joe Lostritto TBA Wood, 5th

Sweetnorthernsaint Michael Trombetta Kent Desormeaux Ky. Derby, 7th

Possible

Ah Day King Leatherbury Ryan Fogelsonger Tesio, won

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