It's all or nothing today, as far as the Preakness is concerned, for the Maryland-bred colt Run Alden.
The horse's owner, Hal C.B. Clagett, said that Run Alden must win the $50,000 Private Terms Stakes at Pimlico Race Course this afternoon in order for him to be nominated by midnight to the Triple Crown.
"I'm filling the form out and will have it ready to turn in after the race," Clagett said. "But first the horse has to win. He's got to show he has the quality and that he hasn't knocked himself out."
Clagett missed the first Triple Crown deadline in January when he was on a business trip in Africa. The cost at that time was $500. Midnight tonight is the second deadline although the fee climbs to $6,000.
"I'm not interested in making the trip to Kentucky [for the Derby] and it's another $8,000 to start in the Preakness," Clagett said. "So we're really talking about $14,000. This horse has done well in limited company, but when you talk about the Preakness, you jump into another category."
Run Alden is listed in the Daily Racing Form as the even-money favorite to beat the six-horse field. But he must overcome two expected challenges.
The Clagett horse drew the rail and has enough speed to get the lead. But he could be joined early by Wise Judgement, part of the Daniel Borislow string that recently moved here from Philadelphia Park, and Alfred Vanderbilt's Gash, who has won his past two starts at Aqueduct in New York-bred company.
Challenge number one is simply to outrun these two horses, or if a speed duel develops, to take back and rate for jockey Allen Stacy.
The second challenge comes when double-stakes winner Looming makes his anticipated late bid in the stretch. Run Alden gives the Robert Meyerhoff-owned colt a 5-pound weight break and must have enough stamina to repulse that horse's usual late surge.
Andrea Seefeldt, who flies in from Oaklawn Park this morning to ride Looming, said there is no other way to ride the Meyerhoff horse than to sit back and wait. "I lose all chance to win the race if I try to go early with Run Alden," she said. "My only chance to beat him is to hope someone goes with him. If they don't, there's not much I can do. I have to do what my horse wants."
Looming is one of three Meyerhoff colts nominated to the Triple Crown. Another, Concern, starts today in the $125,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Francine Villeneuve rides the colt. The other Meyerhoff 3-year-old, Barge In, is nominated to the April 23 Arkansas Derby, but has yet to start this year although trainer Dick Small said the horse is training well.
Prado back on top
Edgar Prado, the leading rider in Maryland for the past three years who spent the winter competing at Aqueduct and in Japan, yesterday took the early lead in the three-day-old Pimlico meet. Prado added three wins yesterday for a total of six, one more than Mario Pino.
Yesterday, in addition to guiding Secret Odds to an impressive front-running score in the featured Fire Plug Stakes, Prado also won races aboard P P Prospect and Mt. Airy Knight.
Secret Odds won the $35,000 stakes despite losing a shoe, which his trainer Larry Murray said probably occurred when the horse broke from the starting gate.