Preakness spoken here. THE NON-FAN'S GUIDE TO RACE WEEK


RACE AT A GLANCE: Field for middle jewel of racing's Triple Crown nearly complete: Olympio, Strike the Gold, Best Pal, Bashful, Dopey, Grumpy, Sneezy and Doc.

TODAY'S PROFILE: Hansel. Although the favorite, Hansel finished 10th in Kentucky Derby, leading to speculation race was "fixed" in bizarre pact with blood sister Gretel, currently on lam from authorities. Incredibly slow horse is expected to finish Saturday's race sometime Sunday afternoon.

HEARD AROUND THE BARNS: Jockey Chris McCarron ballooned to 117 pounds before diet of mustard greens and tap water got weight down to more manageable 115. McCarron also chided by local truant officer for "not being in school like the other seventh-graders."

REQUEST DENIED: Ancient Native American Tonto will NOT ride equally ancient palomino Scout in 116th Preakness, but will conduct a tomahawk-throwing exhibition in infield instead.

INFIELD UPDATE: Patrons will be asked to sign unusual insurance waiver, absolving track from liability due to tomahawk injuries.

THIS DATE IN PREAKNESS HISTORY: Promising 3-year-old Mr. Ed startled his trainer by asking, in perfect English, for bag of oats before 1962 Preakness. Unnerving event prompted owner Marty Goldman to put horse on lucrative carnival sideshow circuit, leading to hugely successful TV sitcom.

Preakness Week

* TONIGHT: Triple Crown Ball begins at 7 at Hyatt Regency. The black-tie extravaganza benefits Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Bob Hope is honorary chairman. Tickets are $200 per person. Call 771-9000.


* Early Times Dixie Handicap and Black Eyed Susan Stakes. Pimlico Race Course, post time 1 p.m. Two stakes races worth $400,000. 542-9400. Admission.

* Michelob Nights. Water Street taverns. 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Outdoor block party featuring dancing and live entertainment. 837-3030. Free with pin.

* Lunchtime With the Orioles. Harborplace amphitheater, Noon. Baltimore Orioles sign autographs and meet fans. 332-4191. Free.

* Women's Match Racing Championship. Inner Harbor. Noon. Olympians and world-renowned sailors compete in J/22s. 752-1667. Free.

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