A day after entering Hegar in the field for the 118th Preakness Stakes, trainer Penny Lewis wasn't second-guessing her decision. But she can understand why others might.
"The word for it is bizarre," Lewis said yesterday afternoon, shortly after the horse arrived at Pimlico by van from Hialeah Race Course near Miami after a 20-hour ride.
Lewis, whose racing roots are in Maryland, said that Hegar traveled well and didn't seem worn out from the trip. "If he were tired, I'd scratch him now," said Lewis, who will become the sixth woman to saddle a horse in the Preakness. Hegar, who won the Everglades May 8, is a 70-1 long shot.
Dixie Classic brings a Lure
Lure's victory in yesterday's $150,000 Early Times Dixie Classic puts the 4-year-old colt in position to win a $1 million bonus. Having won the Early Times Turf Classic the day before the Kentucky Derby, Lure can earn the bonus by winning the Early Times Manhattan at Belmont Park June 6, the day after the Belmont Stakes.
"We're looking forward to going to the Manhattan -- and the bonus," trainer Shug McGaughey said. "I think the distance of that race [a mile and a quarter] might be better for him. We wanted to see today if he can lay off the pace. I'm happy with the way he ran today. No complaints."
Lure led by as many as 3 1/2 lengths down the stretch before winning by 1 1/2 over Star of Cozzene in a blazing 1 minute, 47 3/5 seconds. Lure's time was 3/5 of a second off the track record set by Double Booked in the race two years ago.
Pimlico managers decided not to offer simulcasted races yesterday or today to reduce confusion during their biggest events, said Timothy T. Capps, vice president of communications for Pimlico and Laurel. "You are dealing with a lot of people who are casual race-goers. We wanted to keep it as simple as possible and focus attention on the live card," Capps said.