Today's program has Preakness flavor


If Preakness Day 1991 becomes a recurring vision during today's Pimlico Race Course program, there are reasons why.

Whadjathink, seventh of eight in last month's classic, is a contender in the $300,000 Arlington Classic simulcast, being run at Arlington International Racecourse near Chicago.

Jeweler's Choice is one of seven well-matched sprinters in the $112,600 True North Handicap simulcast from Belmont Park. The Maryland-based gelding won the $154,350 Baltimore Budweiser Breeders' Cup two races before the Preakness.

Then there's Senator To Be, who won the Never Bend Handicap, which directly preceded the Preakness. He is one of six in the $50,000 Broad Brush Handicap, the live feature on the 12-race card. Senator To Be is trained by Nick Zito, who saddled Strike the Gold to a disappointing sixth-place finish behind Hansel in the Preakness.

Preakness 1991 was a bad day for For Really; he finished fifth and last behind Jeweler's Choice. Although his next start yielded a much happier result, the elation didn't last long for Dickie Dutrow, the former Maryland training star who moved to New York six years ago.

For Really won the Roseben Handicap at Belmont Park three weeks ago, running six furlongs in a fast 1 minute, 8 1/5 seconds. But when a Belmont publicist called earlier this week to ask how the colt was coming up to the race, Dutrow reportedly told her: "I don't know. You'll have to ask Lukas."

Dutrow could not be reached for comment why Regal Oak Farm, owner of For Really, chose to give the colt to D. Wayne Lukas, who has an entry in the True North. Sunny Blossom, the other half, is yet another newcomer to Team Lukas. Sunny Blossom's former trainer is Eddie Gregson.

One other participant today conjures memories of a past Preakness. Diablo, 5-for-7 lifetime, makes his stakes debut in the True North.

But Diablo is no relation, no anything, to the colt who finished third in the 1975 Preakness. That was Diabolo.

NOTES: Diablo, a 4-year-old Devil's Bag colt, "had physical problems," said trainer Bill Mott, accounting for an absence from January 1990 to February 1991. . . . Two winning tickets, each worth $45,390.30, emptied the Double Triple pool yesterday. The gimmick had not been hit in the prior 8 racing days. . . . King Leatherbury pulled back into a tie with Dale Capuano for the Pimlico trainers' lead when Mary B. won the eighth race over Fair Bellino, trained by Capuano. Both have sent out 32 winners through 73 racing days. . . . Country Day is due back in the Eddie Gaudet barn today and may start in the Fort McHenry Handicap on the July 4 opening-day program at Laurel Race Course. . . . Wanda Hawkins, clerk in the badge office at Maryland tracks for 30 years, died Thursday night in Laurel of kidney failure. She was 65.

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